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Michael Preston ’83

Michael’s lifelong passions included teaching, music, meditation, and mindfulness, and he lived his life according to his Buddhist beliefs. He visited Breitenbush Hot Springs for the first time as a child and returned as an adult to attend retreats. In April 2017, he took his sons there for the first time to experience the healing powers and magical community. In December, he suddenly passed away at the retreat.

A native of Oregon, he grew up in Corvallis, and attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts. At Reed he majored in psychology and religion and wrote his thesis, “An Investigation of Psychokinetic Theory and Practice,” with Professors Les Squier [psychology 1953–88] and John Kenney [religion 1980–95]. Michael studied hermeneutics and extraterrestrial mathematical ontology at Purdue, where he was a research assistant. Then he went to the University of Cincinnati as a doctoral candidate in the philosophy of education. At UC, he met and married Kristin Seeberger. The couple made their home in Baltimore, Maryland, for 19 years, where his sons were born. Michael taught and played music, and was the director of religious education at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore.

In 2012, he moved back to Oregon to help his mother care for her husband, who had ALS. Six months after his stepfather’s death, Michael’s mother developed pancreatic cancer. Michael’s deep calling to help those in need or who were suffering, combined with his Buddhist practice, led him to study becoming a chaplain. Through his teaching and music (he played anything with strings), he touched many lives. Michael led meditation and mindfulness at the Oregon State Penitentiary and was committed to the Buddhist recovery group Refuge Recovery. He is survived by his sons, Garrett and James; his siblings, March and Joe; and his father, Fred.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2018

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