The Life of William R Preston
Russ was raised in Canfield and graduated in 1943, from Canfield High School. He later attended the University of Cincinnati and Youngstown State University.
A veteran of World War II, Russ served as an Air Cadet of the Army Air Force from 1943 until1945.In 1945, Russ returned to Youngstown and joined the G.M. McKelvey Company as a salesman for Men’s Furnishings. He later was promoted to buyer and served in several departments. In 1956, Russ became Director of Sales Promotion and later Vice President and General Merchandise Manager. In 1967, Russ was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of McKelveys.
In 1973, Russ joined Globe Department Store in Scranton, Pa. He held several positions with this company and in 1979 became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Together with Governor Bill Scranton and several other businessmen, he purchased the company from Carter, Hawley, Hale in 1987. In 1991, the company was sold and Russ returned to Boardman.
In February of 1993, Russ joined the American Red Cross Mahoning Chapter as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director and served in that position until June of 2010.Throughout his career, Russ received numerous awards and recognitions for both his business and community leadership. In Pennsylvania, his board memberships include many, to name a few: Board of Directors of Northeastern Bank of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and Board member of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trustees of Marywood College, and Board of Directors of the American Red Cross, Scranton Chapter. Russ was a member of a team that resulted in the Blount family bringing their steam locomotives collection to Scranton, and as a result, the national theme park, Steamtown U.S.A. was located in downtown Scranton. He was a very giving man and organized relief efforts for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Russ leaves his wife, the former Karen Foss, whom he married on April 26, 1998; three daughters, Cheryl Colton of Girard, Patti Adams of Boardman and Ashley Preston of Washington, D.C.; two sons, William “Rusty” Preston of Boardman and Bradley Preston of Canton; two stepdaughters, Stacie Zilavy and Amy Held, both of Boardman; his sister, Jean Ann (John) Fleck of St. Louis; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildrenIn addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Fred Preston. Funeral services will be private for the family.
Interment will be at Green Haven Memorial Gardens.