TUSDs first black
high school principal dies
Lamond Preston loved Tucson's people, culture
By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/218747
Lamond Preston loved Tucson.
He grew up in Tucson, and his grandparents were among the city's first black settlers in the early 1900s.
He earned four degrees at the University of Arizona, the last of which was a doctorate of education.
In 1980, Preston made history as Tucson Unified School District's first black high school principal.
But what Preston loved most about Tucson were its people and its culture, family and friends say.
"He was raised in the barrios of Tucson, and he spoke Spanish as did his father and his brothers," said Al Aguilar, one of Preston's best friends and a former co-worker.
"He even learned how to cook tamales from my wife. He took the time to understand people no matter who they were, and he could relate to anyone."
Preston dedicated his life to Tucson and gave back to the city and its people right up until he died at 70 on Saturday, said Martha Preston, his wife.
"He had the philosophy that service is the price you pay for the space you occupy," she said. "While you're here in this world, your purpose is to give to someone around you or to your community, and that's how you fulfill your life. That's what he believed, and that's what we lived by."
Preston also gave to his country, serving in the Air Force after high school.
In 1963, Preston began his career in education as a biology teacher at Tucson High School, his alma mater.
He later became a counselor, dean of boys and summer-school principal at Tucson High and, in 1980, was named principal of Catalina High School.
In 1985, Preston took over as principal of Cholla High. He retired in 1991.
"It's a loss to the community, and certainly a loss to TUSD," said district Superintendent Roger Pfeuffer. "He was a product of TUSD schools. He was one of our own."
Martha Preston said her husband's impact on people was felt everywhere the couple went.
"There were always people who would come up and say, 'You were my teacher' or 'You were my principal,'" she said. "Airports, stores, down the street, in other countries — and he would always remember their face and their name."
In retirement Preston found a love for gardening, was active in the Palo Verde Kiwanis club and with the Pima County Arts Council.
He also volunteered at the Pima County Vocational School and served on boards of the Tucson Rose Society and the UA Alumni Association, as well as on the Mobile Meals Board.
A memorial fund has been set up in Dr. Lamond Preston's name through the Dunbar Coalition, in care of the Tucson Urban League. Donations can be sent to 2305 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85713.
● Contact reporter Nathan Olivarez-Giles at 307-0579 or firstname.lastname@example.org.