Preston Roberts From ‘Mountain Men’ Loses His Battle With Cancer

We wish there were a different reason for this message. We wish we could walk away from writing it. And yet, we are humbled and honored to know just how many hearts this sad news will break, for it speaks to the power a single good man can have in this world.

An outdoors educator and former teacher in the Wilkes County schools who often appeared on the History Channel’s “Mountain Men” reality TV show died Monday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Preston James Roberts, 60, of Hays died from complications related to an inoperable liver tumor.

There is no replacing a human life, and the specialness of Preston as teacher, mentor, builder, friend, artist, elder, inspiration, dancer, leader, and solid rock foundation leaves a chasm in our community. Preston was as practical as he was creative, and over any abyss he would find a way to build a bridge whose quality was matched only by its beauty. He lived for summer camp, and his life and spirit are infused all over Turtle Island, in the buildings, the ceremonies, the land, and the misty mountain air itself. Help us build a bridge and honor his life by ensuring that Turtle Island camps continue far into the future, whether that means lighting a candle on December 24th, sponsoring a camper, or lending a hand in one of the many building projects Preston had planned for the upcoming year.

We leave you with Preston’s words from this past year’s holiday message to campers:

“It’s cold this morning, the sun is just peeking its head above the mountain. I wonder what it is like at Morning Watch this morning? I wish I was there, this moment, curled in a thick wool blanket, watching the light, birds, and in my minds eye I am there, with you and the others that have carried your stone and placed it in that sacred circle of stones. In my minds eye I can sail through the trees, past the tree-house, classroom, the gazebo and your shoes, over the patch on the barn roof, over the spot we plan to build a traditional carpentry shop, sweeping high into the cold air alongside a raven, looking at the place we love below and wishing for it to continue forever…”

Much love, indescribable gratitude, and, as always, still learning…

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