July 22, 2022, 80, La Grange –
Preston Franklin Garris, 80, was granted eternal rest on Friday, July 22, 2022. Preston was born in Wayne County on September 12, 1941 to the late Emmett Preston and Dorothy Mozingo Garris. In addition to his parents, Preston was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Amy Garris Greene; and three sons, Preston Duane Garris, Emmett Lytle Garris, and Brendan Joseph “BJ” Garris.
Faithfully serving his country in the United States Marine Corp, Preston was medically retired at the rank of Staff Sergeant. Throughout his tenure with the Marines, he was awarded numerous medals for his valiant efforts, including Navy Commendation Medal with Valor Device, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 bronze stars, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device, Expert Rifle Badge, Expert Pistol Badge, Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart Medal with Gold Star.
With a love of his country and fellowman, Preston went on to work as the Wayne County Veterans Service Officer from 1968-1973. In his first year of employment, he interviewed over 3,600 veterans to help them apply for and attain military benefits. Resigning from this position to help his father on their dairy farm, Preston continued to help others in this task as a volunteer for over fifty years.
A 32nd degree mason, Preston maintained membership in the masonic brotherhood for over 53 years. Additionally, he was a Shriner for more than forty years, and honored to be a board member of the Wayne Opportunity Center.
Being a natural history buff, Preston enjoyed every opportunity to talk with friends and strangers about history, especially genealogical research. A life member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the National Rifle Association, Preston was proud of his heritage and military service.
A collector of all sorts of memorabilia, Preston held on to ties of the past through his collection of tractors and cars. Remembering his early years on the farm, he held on to every ribbon he ever won with his Spanish Mustang horse, “Tony the Pony”. Though dementia brought on faded memories as time progressed, Tony always maintained a place in his mind.
The family will receive friends for a time of visitation on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Rouse Funeral Home. A graveside service with military honors will follow at 3:00 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery, La Grange.
Preston is survived by his son, Joel Franklin Garris and wife, Natalie Newman Garris; grandchildren, Joshua Duane Garris, Bethany G. Rhodes and husband, Trey, Natalie Noel Garris, and Joel Franklin Garris II; and eight great-grandchildren.
The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to those who became family because of the care they showed for Preston: nurse, JoAnna Pippin; caregiver, Cathy Bloom; and special friend and caregiver, Diana “Cleo” Ellis.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.rousefh.com. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Preston’s memory may be made to Beston United Methodist Church, c/o Lisa Ritko,1501 Mulberry Street Goldsboro, NC 28530. Arrangements are entrusted to Rouse Funeral Home, La Grange.