Landscapes 12


Karin Elaine Preston

October 23, 1943 ~ December 7, 2018 (age 75)

Karin Elaine Preston, 75, of Troy, Idaho, greatly loved wife of Charles Michael Preston for almost 54 years.

Karin was born October 23, 1943, in Pt. Pleasant, WV, and she died at home holding her husband’s hand on December 7, 2018, in Troy, Idaho.  Her birth name was Karin Elaine Taylor, and her parents were William Archie Taylor, whose date of birth was January 20,1918, in Charleston, WV, and Drucilla Minerva Taylor (Walden), whose date of birth was May 25, 1922, in Guthrie, WV.   Karin and Charles were married in a church wedding in Charleston, WV, on December 25, 1964.  She was survived by her husband, Charles, and has no other immediate family.

Karin was a brave and determined opponent of her very advanced stage of cancer from the time it was diagnosed in October, 2016, undergoing major surgery and chemotherapy, and changing her diet as well as other measures that had some scientific basis for believing that they had a chance of altering the normal and expected course of the cancer.

Karin’s almost 50 year work career began in Charleston, WV, as a medical lab technician at St. Francis Hospital.  She continued working as a medical technician in Ferndale, WA, and in Fairbanks, AK, and then switched to working as a lab tech at the virology laboratory of the Arctic Health Research Center in Fairbanks, studying disease transmission by arctic mosquitoes among other subjects, and also worked at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

After moving to Alaska, Karin and Charles took a year and a half off from regular jobs, and moved to Eagle, AK, on the Yukon River, where they lived without indoor plumbing or electricity and got food by hunting, fishing, canning Yukon River salmon, and growing a large garden, and using malemutes pulling a toboggan to carry water and lots of firewood and other supplies.  Karin and Charles lived in several locations in Alaska while he was working for the State of Alaska and she was working for the U.S. Forest Service most of the time, on the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.  In addition to Fairbanks and Eagle, they lived in Nome, Sitka, Kodiak, and Anchorage.

Karin earned numerous awards for outstanding achievement during her career at the U.S. Forest Service, and was both respected and liked by her coworkers, several of whom continued to meet and correspond with her until her death.  Her last position, before retirement and moving to Idaho, was GIS Database Coordinator, managing the Geographic Information Program for the Chugach National Forest.  She was also a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional.

While working full time and taking care of a household, Karin earned an Associate of Arts degree from Anchorage Community College in 1983.  Later, while working full time, taking care of a household, and assisting with a small business, she earned a Bachelor of Science with Honors degree in Geography from Charter Oak State College, in 1997.

Karin earned her Amateur Radio General Class license while in Nome, so she was able to use radios to communicate about personal matters with Charles while he was operating small aircraft and boats based out of Nome.  Later, while in Idaho, Karin upgraded her license to Amateur Extra Class, and her help was vital to doing radio transmission experiments that were published in the technical Amateur Radio journal, QEX.

After 44 years in Alaska, Karin and Charles moved to Idaho, where Karin especially appreciated what seemed to be an almost total absence of mosquitoes, compared with her Alaska outdoors experiences. She enjoyed outdoor wildland activities including hiking, camping, and identifying wildflowers and birds.

Karin assembled as complete a genealogy database for the Taylor and Preston families as documented evidence and first-hand interviews would allow, and her well-organized results have been used by both Preston and Taylor family members.  She traveled to numerous grave sites and vital records offices, and used a wide variety of sources in her research, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT.

Karin wanted to help feed hungry people on an international as well as a local basis, and donated every month for more than 20 years to The Hunger Project, a program to teach people how to grow enough food to be self sufficient.

Karin asked that instead of sending flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Troy food bank, ℅  ACS, PO Box 49, Deary, ID. 

She wanted to inconvenience as few people as possible with her death, and asked to be quietly cremated without a funeral.

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