Tribute to Preston Huddleston

Preston Huddleston passed away two days after his 86th birthday on Sunday, October 3rd. He graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He served in the United States Navy and had a distinguished professional career, working at Alabama Power Company, Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board (MDB), and most recently for seven years at Sain Associates.

I had known Preston for years since he worked at MDB. After working together, Preston became a father figure, friend, and mentor. He was someone that I looked up to, loved, and greatly admired. Preston valued relationships and loved keeping in touch with friends. During his recent hospital stay and brief illness, he called me to check-in. Preston didn’t mention that he was in intensive care, and he said he would be discharged in a few days, but unfortunately, Preston never made it home. At Preston’s funeral, friends and family spoke about his commitment to his faith, being an active member of Bluff Park United Methodist Church, and his devotion to loved ones. 

I have many great memories of Preston, and below are a few of my favorites:

  • Before I even worked with Preston, we formed a hamburger club with a group of guys and went to many places off the beaten path searching for a good hamburger. We visited Sammy’s Sandwich Shop by the airport and Velma’s Bar in Trussville, which is no longer in business.  
  • Preston stayed in touch with his friends. During his later years, we saw each other or talked several times a week. He regularly visited with his next-door neighbor Lamar Smith, who retired from Alagasco, and Ted vonCannon, his old boss at MDB, along with many others.
  • Preston was a fixture at Birmingham Area Mayor’s Association meetings since his days at Alabama Power Company. They considered him as part of the group.

I always told Preston that he needed to keep working until my retirement and then I wanted his job. He worked for Sain Associates for seven years, and he told me he wished it had been more. Preston had recently recovered from hip surgery and was happy to be back at work and see everyone. One of my friends said it best – Preston is up in Heaven working the room. He will be greatly missed.