January 31, 2021
Preston was born on April 28, 1959 in Norfolk, VA. Living all his life in Virginia Beach, he gained his faith at First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach. Preston farmed with his dad in his early years and then worked with his dad, mom, and uncles at the family business, Jungle Golf, from the age of 11. Preston graduated from Frank W. Cox High School. He attended Ferrum College and Appalachian State University (both where his major appeared to be skiing) and received a B.S. in Business Administration from Old Dominion University. Over time he learned every aspect of Jungle Golf's operation from the ground up, and he worked in every capacity from mowing the grass and running the cash register to eventually taking over all the bookkeeping, hiring, payroll, maintenance, landscaping and total property management. Preston, with the support of dedicated managers and loyal employees, helped make Jungle Golf's mini golf course the familiar icon of the Virginia Beach oceanfront it is today, celebrating 50 years.
Preston's first priority was always family, and he was an extraordinary family man - devoted son, adoring husband, and loving father - which included friends he considered family. He married his best friend and soulmate, Kim, on the 6th hole of Jungle Golf next to the volcano, on a warm and sunny December 31, 1992. Known for his generosity, willingness to help, and being the consummate host, it is easy to understand why he was so beloved. He enjoyed entertaining his family, many good friends, and fun-loving, dependable neighbors at home on their cul-de-sac. You could find him with a spatula in one hand and a Michelob Ultra in the other. The beach boy never wore socks, but you always saw him in his Jungle Golf hat. He regularly indulged in a quick afternoon nap. Preston listened to a wide variety of music and especially appreciated country music concerts at the Patriotic Festival and VB amphitheater every summer. Each fall he looked forward to the annual Cherrystone Halloween family and friends' weekend, where his & Buster's top duty was to steam the clams for their large group. He was an accomplished cook preparing both traditional family recipes and experimenting with new ones on his massive grill. His favorite special treats were the Malbon layer cake with chocolate icing and Rockafeller's Restaurant's coconut cake. Often straight-faced, you knew his smile was genuine. He was a kidder and a prankster like his Dad, and his lighthearted sense of humor made everyone laugh. Simply put, Preston was the best!
Preston was an outstanding citizen of Virginia Beach and the world. His knowledge and experience made him one who was frequently sought out to assist and advise. He employed an unassuming diplomacy, offered insightful counsel, and exercised the duties he took on faithfully. Historically, Preston not only assisted multiple community organizations, and also served at different times as president/chairman of the Resort Advisory Commission (member 2002-2020), Old Coast Guard Station/Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, Resort Retailers Association, and Resort Leadership Council. Preston was a 2002 Neptune Festival Triton, a founding member of the Robin Hoods of Virginia Beach/Nobleman and SAFE (Surfing Access for Everyone), a member of the Museum of Contemporary Art Board of Trustees, and Board of Directors member for the Neptune Festival and the Patriotic Festival. Preston was the Chairman of the Transportation/Parking/Pedestrian Committee from 2002-2020. Resort Advisory Sub-Committee assignments were numerous including: Planning/Design Review, GREEN, Oceanfront Enhancement, Resort Investment, Oceanfront Strategic Growth Area, Resort Master Plan, Atlantic Avenue Revitalization, Old Beach Master Plan, Special Event Task Force, City Manager's Resort Advisory, Form Based Code Advisory, Resort Area Strategic Plan 2040 Taskforce, Joint Commission of RAC and Human Rights, VB Convention and Visitor Bureau Taskforce, and the Resort Area Mobility Plan. Currently, he was Chairman of VB Vision's Resort Development Task Force.
Preston enjoyed traveling with his wife, children, and friends. The adventurer in him was always up for the next trip! An excellent skier, after college he made ski trips to Colorado and Canada. He and Kim also honeymooned in the stunning Austrian Alps. As a young adult, he earned his pilot's license and tested his skill at aerobatics. Taking up surfing in his early 30's, Costa Rica was a favorite surf spot with his family and his surf buddies - he also rode waves with them in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and California. Cabo was a special surf destination he shared with Josh; no doubt they are reminiscing about that now. Spring break trips hosted by the Johnston's in gorgeous residences with family/friends were a highlight each year and took in St. John, Sunset Key, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and Great Exuma swimming with the pigs. Preston & Kim made the trip of a lifetime to the fabulous Greek Isles in 2016 with Kim's generous boss! Passionate about fishing, Preston excelled at flounder fishing in Wachapreague, learned flats flyfishing in Key West, became obsessed with bonefishing in Andros Island in the Bahamas, and recently experienced flyfishing in Montana rivers. Preston, with family and friends, met Tara on her South American gap-year escapades to climb Machu Picchu and explore Peru's Sacred Valley in 2018. While Preston was an excellent mini-golf putter, he only took up the game of golf about 10 years ago. He enjoyed the game but needed practice and would be proud to tell you he had the highest handicap at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club! He always enjoyed challenging himself with comrades and trainers at Wareing's gym to keep in shape for his exploits. An avid boater, in 2019 he checked off the top of his bucket list by completing the Great Loop in 6 weeks (Trey traveled with him for 3 weeks). He accomplished this in his 26ft Panga, a Costa Rican fishing boat, Pura Vida, right in time for the annual Neptune Festival weekend!
Preston was predeceased by his father Robert Preston (Bobby/"Monk") Midgett, and his mother Nancy Malbon Midgett; uncles Jimmy (Rooney), Ralph (Nel), AB (May Henry), and Sonny; and aunts Gerry, Molly (Johnny), and Leegie (Boyd) and sweet pup, Roxy. He is survived by his loving wife Kim, son Robert Preston "Trey" Midgett III, daughter Tara Lorraine, loyal companion Rusty, sisters-in-law Diane (Keith), Kathy (Jeff), and Carolyn (Brett), brother-in-law Jon (Margaret); nephews Kindell (Laura), Ryland, Nevin, Gram, Tad, David, Greyson, and Dylan; nieces Kelsey (Greg), Kiley (Rawane), Karson, Jeanna (Alex), Madison, Sarah, Emily, and Isabelle. Extended family includes Peggy, Buster, and Kaitlyn Lankford; Diane, Tom, and Allie Johnston; Bruce Thompson and family; the 71st Anglers breakfast club; and many Midgett & Malbon cousins.
Having fought a courageous 2-month battle, one had only to witness the many local business marquees with messages to Preston during and after his illness, as well as the news and newspaper coverage, to know this was a person whose influence was deeply appreciated, whose strength of character and loyalty were renowned. The family would like to thank the ICU doctors, nurses, and staff at Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital, Sentara Norfolk Heart Hospital, and the UVA Hospital in Charlottesville for the exceptional care that was given to Preston. They also extend their gratitude to all the prayer warriors on CaringBridge and Facebook, and church groups from Virginia Beach and around the country. The family appreciated all who offered support in so many ways, from house Christmas lights to porch elves' notes, from meals to encouraging messages.
A celebration of life and paddle-out will be held once the pandemic subsides and the warmer weather that Preston so enjoyed is with us again. Donations may be made in his honor and memory to one of his favorite charities: JT Walk, Surf Rider Foundation, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Neptune Festival, Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, or Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.
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