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Bowmer Preston Thomas

Died: November 24, 2017

Preston entered Yale in the fall of 1962 as a graduate of Louisville Country Day School. The son of Charles Preston Thomas and Alice Burks Thomas, he married Margaret Caldwell Harper. Preston was a lifelong resident of Louisville, and a pillar of the community. On his death, Historic Locust Grove received the largest gift in its history. In his will Preston left $1 million, and his gift has been directed to the visitors’ center. Preston had been an active supporter of Locust Grove for over twenty years, and served as secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president of the Board of Trustees. He even did a stint as Executive Director. Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark in Louisville, dates to 1790, when surveyor and landowner William Croghan and his wife Lucy Clark Croghan built a brick house on land totaling over 700 acres. Lucy, one of ten children, had at least two illustrious brothers: George, who was the highest ranking American military officer of the northwest frontier, and William, who led the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Merriweather Lewis.

At Yale Preston lived at Timothy Dwight College At Yale Preston lived at Timothy Dwight College and played on its soccer team. He had his eye on medicine. He was a Biology Intensive major and a strong student, on the Dean’s List and a Ranking Scholar. He joined Zeta Psi, was a Yale Aide, and served on the Undergraduate Admissions Committee. After graduation from Yale, he attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Class of 1970). He trained in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University, and in pathology at the University of Michigan. He served in the Medical Corps of the United States Army, with a tour in Vietnam, and received the Bronze Star.and played on its soccer team. He had his eye on medicine. He was a Biology Intensive major and a strong student, on the Dean’s List and a Ranking Scholar. He joined Zeta Psi, was a Yale Aide, and served on the Undergraduate Admissions Committee. After graduation from Yale, he attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Class of 1970). He trained in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University, and in pathology at the University of Michigan. He served in the Medical Corps of the United States Army, with a tour in Vietnam, and received the Bronze Star.

Preston returned to Louisville in 1978 to practice pathology, joining a group at Suburban Hospital, and serving in numerous state and national medical societies. Upon retirement Preston had time to enjoy many activities his busy professional career had ruled out. He took up golf and started reading crime novels set in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. He also enjoyed immersing himself in classic French novels, reading in French. In addition to giving two decades worth of time and talent, and treasure, to Historic Locust Grove, he was a member of the Speed Art Museum, the Filson Historical Society, and the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He belonged to the Louisville Country Club, the River Valley Club, and the Prospectors.

Preston is survived by his wife Margy, and his stepson Dave Harper and his wife Sarah of Dublin, Georgia, and their son David Preston Caldwell Harper. He is also survived by his stepdaughter Kate Harper, her husband Michael Gould, and their daughter Harriett Elizabeth (Libby) Gould.

To draw from the epitaph of Christopher Wren at St. Paul’s Cathedral:

If you seek Preston’s monument, look to Locust Grove.

Stephen M. Clement III