We wish there were a different reason for this message. We wish we could walk away from writing it. And yet, we are humbled and honored to know just how many hearts this sad news will break, for it speaks to the power a single good man can have in this world.
On July 24th, 2017 at 3:30pm, Preston James Roberts passed peacefully away in the arms of his wife Kathleen, surrounded by family and loved ones. Preston had a large inoperable tumor on his liver that obstructed the flow of blood and oxygen to his organs and body. The change was rapid and outpaced any treatment -- just three weeks ago he was teaching at Boys Camp. While the suddenness of his departure is shocking, we draw some consolation from the fact that his last days were full of family and friends instead of drawn-out suffering.
There is no replacing a human life, and the specialness of Preston as teacher, mentor, builder, friend, artist, elder, inspiration, dancer, leader, and solid rock foundation leaves a chasm in our community. Preston was as practical as he was creative, and over any abyss he would find a way to build a bridge whose quality was matched only by its beauty. He lived for summer camp, and his life and spirit are infused all over Turtle Island, in the buildings, the ceremonies, the land, and the misty mountain air itself. Help us build a bridge and honor his life by ensuring that Turtle Island camps continue far into the future, whether that means lighting a candle on December 24th, sponsoring a camper, or lending a hand in one of the many building projects Preston had planned for the upcoming year.
Preston's family is currently planning burial and memorial services, and we will reach out with more information as it develops. In the meantime, please consider supporting Preston's family in their time of grief.
We leave you with Preston's words from this past year's holiday message to campers:
"It's cold this morning, the sun is just peeking its head above the mountain. I wonder what it is like at Morning Watch this morning? I wish I was there, this moment, curled in a thick wool blanket, watching the light, birds, and in my minds eye I am there, with you and the others that have carried your stone and placed it in that sacred circle of stones. In my minds eye I can sail through the trees, past the tree-house, classroom, the gazebo and your shoes, over the patch on the barn roof, over the spot we plan to build a traditional carpentry shop, sweeping high into the cold air alongside a raven, looking at the place we love below and wishing for it to continue forever..."
Much love, indescribable gratitude, and, as always, still learning...