Leslie T. Preston ’88 died on February 8, 2018, in Berkeley, California.
(The following was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 11, 2018)
Leslie Trude Preston, 51, passed away on February 8 at her home in Berkeley, California, after a battle with cancer. She died peacefully, surrounded by family.
Leslie was a Valentine’s baby, born on February 14, 1966, in New York City. She was the second child of Kenneth and Linda Preston. Leslie attended Columbia Grammar and Prep School, graduated from Bowdoin College, and earned an MSW from the Smith College School for Social Work.
Leslie dedicated her life to serving others. She started her career as a case manager for a foster care agency in Brooklyn. After receiving her MSW, she led a mobile crisis program and suicide prevention hotline in Phoenix. She moved to the Bay Area in 1998 to be closer to family and soon began her nineteen-year tenure with La Clinica de la Raza, a nonprofit community health center headquartered in Oakland. Leslie served as the director of behavioral health, working tirelessly to oversee programs that provided critical prevention and treatment services for thousands of vulnerable East Bay residents.
In 2016, the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees honored Leslie with a Common Good Award in recognition of her “extraordinary, profound and sustained commitment to the common good, in the interest of society, with conspicuous disregard for personal gain.”
In addition to her professional work, Leslie served on the board of directors of the Women’s Cancer Resource Center and was an active member of the Berkeley Friends Meeting.
Leslie loved swimming, gardening, traveling, spending time with family and friends, seeing Broadway musicals, and caring for her cat, Tasmin. Her friends all describe her as unflinchingly loyal, principled, and generous.
Leslie was predeceased by her mother, Linda Rothchild Preston. She is survived by her father, Kenneth, and brothers Alan and Dean. She will be remembered with great affection by her nephew, Janak, and nieces, Skye, Kira, Hannah, and Elizabeth.