LEWISTON – Howard Daniel Preston, 79, of Gray, was born to Mabel Stattel Preston and Howard J. Preston in Freehold, N.J., on April 8, 1929, and died in Lewiston on Feb. 6.

He spent the first 21 years of his life on a farm with his parents and grandparents. His greatest joy was being out-of-doors walking in the woods. He learned to hunt, to trap and to track from his Uncle Dan.

He bought his first car, a Model A Ford, with money he earned from trapping. Upon graduation from Freehold High School, he studied to become a tool and die maker. He joined the 50th Armored Division in the N.J. National Guard.

His interest in tinkering on his cars and motorcycles led him to become a master mechanic and later to manage a Chrysler and International Harvester dealership at Orr Motors, Inc. on Highway 33 in Manalapan Township, N.J. This later fostered his interest in antique engines and tractors and he became a member in an old-time engine club in New Jersey.

He was a member of the Old Brick Reformed Church in Marlboro, N.J., Monmouth Grange and the Masonic Temple in Matawan, N.J. He served as a volunteer fireman in the Morgainville and Manalapan fire companies for a total of 50 years, before moving to Gray.

Upon moving to Maine, his interest was renewed in model railroading. He was a member of the Great Falls Model Railroad Club. He built modules for shows as well as building engines and cars for his layout.

He was a member of the Royal River Rod and Gun Club and actively enjoyed hunting and target shooting, until he was no longer able to participate in the sport.

Always having been a lover of animals, he gained much pleasure and support from his malamutes and Siberian huskies over the years, Belle, Breeze, Jake, Raven, Angel and Rebel were especially comforting to him the past few years. He loved his family very much and enjoyed having them around him.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Joan; Kenneth Stattel and William Stattel of Marlboro, N.J.; his son, H. Daniel Jr. and wife, Jocelyn, of Gloucester, N.C.; his daughters, Peggy Stinson-Schiereck and husband, Larry, of Gray and Janet Samples and husband, Forrest, of Clermont, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

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