MSBA Past President (1998-1999) Charles Michael “Mike” Preston passed away on December 6, 2018, at his home. He was 73.
A Baltimore native, Preston graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in 1967. Three years later, he was admitted to the Maryland Bar after procuring his JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He served as a law clerk to Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Edward O. Weant, Jr. before joining the law firm of Hoffman & Hoffman as an associate in 1972. The firm changed its name to Hoffman, Hoffman & Preston when he became a partner in 1976. Two years later, it merged with the Westminster firm of Hoff & Stoner, becoming Hoffman, Stoner & Preston.
Preston left the firm in January 1980 to form a new firm, Stoner, Preston & Boswell, with partners Charles E. Stoner and Richard V. Boswell. In sum, Preston practiced law in Carroll County for 48 years, and served as President of the Carroll County Bar Association in 1985-1986.
Preston’s MSBA service included the Budget & Finance Committee as well as six years as MSBA Treasurer (1991-1997) before becoming President in 1998.
MSBA Past President (2001-2002) Richard H. Sothoron, Jr. says that Preston “was known throughout Maryland as a gifted lawyer who possessed a wonderful temperament, regardless of the venue or complexity of the case.” Sothoron, who served as Treasurer under Preston, fondly recalls his friend’s “easygoing manner, affable personality, and warm smile.”
“If anyone truly cherished the opportunity to become a lawyer in Maryland and ascend to the position of President of the MSBA, it was Mike Preston,” adds Sothoron.
MSBA Past President (2002-2003) James P. Nolan, who served as Secretary under Preston, points to the words recently shared by other Past Presidents upon learning of Preston’s passing as testament to his character, including “our dear friend”, “fine lawyer”, “effective leader”, “true professional”, “adored his wonderful wife, Barbara”, and “he treasured the MSBA and his MSBA friends.”
“Kind of says it all about Mike,” says Nolan. “He will definitely be missed.”
Former MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin recalls a man who “was motivated by diligence and the utmost civility and consideration to all.”
“I always felt and enjoyed a close kinship and camaraderie with Mike, especially since our birthdays were only days apart,” says Carlin. “I will miss him dearly.”
In addition to the Maryland Bar, Preston was admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (1972), the United States Supreme Court (1974), and the Trial Bar for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (1984). He was also a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland Bar Foundation, the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, and the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission’s Review Inquiry and Review Board Committee.
The family will welcome friends on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel, 412 Washington Road, in Westminster, MD. A celebration of Preston’s life will take place at 11:00 a.m. the following day at the same location. Private interment will take place in Kriders United Church of Christ Cemetery. Further details may be found here.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Preston’s name to either Carroll Hospice (www.carrollhospice.org) or the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network at https://www.bcan.org/donate/.