Roland F. Preble

GARDINER – Roland F. Preble, 91, of Gardiner, died on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. He was born on Flag day on June 14, 1929, in Gardner, Mass., the son of the late Roland and Viola (lovley) Preble.

He grew up in Randolph and attended Randolph Crammer School and graduated from Gardiner High School in 1948. Roland was active in sports and school activities. His classmates voted for him to give the advice to the undergraduates at class day.

He was an entertainer from an early age and loved to perform. He was also well known locally for singing, dancing and comical routines. Roland entertained veterans at Togus for many years. He was approached by a well-known orchestra leader who wanted him to tour with them and perform in blackface. However, Roland was one of the first to stop doing blackface routines, because he thought it was demeaning to people of color. He turned it down, who knows what that may have led to? He loved making people laugh and he always said that if he could make one person laugh or smile every day, that would make him feel good.

Roland was also a talented artist and his paintings hang in many homes and businesses. Few people know that he performed magic, but only did it for close friends. He and his wife loves show business and would travel miles to see such entertainers, as Frank Sinatra and many others.

Roland lived in Winthrop for many years. He was involved in many town affairs. He was elected a school trustee under the old school union plan. He was elected to the town charter commission and then elected chairman of the group. He served as co-chairman of the public relations of the Winthrop Bi-Centennial committee. He was also a member and a director of the Winthrop Lions Club and served as chairman of public relations for district 41-I.

Roland and Dick McGuire helped organize the Winthrop Babe Ruth League. He served as the first president of the league and served in that capacity for two years and expanded the league by four more teams. Roland was also very active in coaching his sons’ youth sports teams. He was also substitute teacher and always said that he loved to teach first to fourth grade students the best because the children were always glad to see him, and they came to school happy and wanted to learn.

Roland was active in the criminal justice system and served on the advisory committee at the University of Maine at Augusta to establish a criminal justice and corrections curriculum at the college.

He received an associate degree from that college. He also attended the University of Southern California and the University of New Hampshire. He retired from the military after serving almost twenty-five years. He was a graduate of the light and heavy weapons leadership school at Fort Benning where he received the coveted white glove award for outstanding leadership. He was also a graduate of the US Army Recruiting School at Fort Benjamin Harrison. In addition, he graduated from the US Army Associate Infantry Officers School at Fort Benning and the US Armor School at Fort Knox where he was class leader and company commander. Years later he was asked to serve as operations officer for the Maine State Guard and was soon promoted to Chief of Staff and later became Commanding Officer. Upon retirement he was promoted to Brigadier General by Major General Edwin Heywood, then Maine’s Adjutant General. He was a member of the American Legion, the military officers association of America, the National Infantry Association and the Calvary Armor Association. He was also a proud member of the Autism Society of Maine and America.

He and wife Charlene traveled across country many times by plane, train and automobile. They walked the hallowed grounds of West Point. They stood in awe at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in the nation’s capital. They traveled to the Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and Nixon Museums.

Roland leaves his wife Charlene, who he always called princess; his three sons that he was so proud of, Jeffrey of Gardiner, Scott of Antioch, Calif. and Douglas of Mission Viejo, Calif. and his wife Marcella; plus three terrific grandsons, Jakob, Shane and Luke of Mission Viejo, Calif. Other relatives that were close to his heart are sister and brothers-in-law, Janice and Earl Wilder of Passadumkeag and Anna and Bob O’ Malley of Sidney; nephew Eddie Maillet and son Kyle of Brunswick; his dear cousins, Gary, Larry, and Janice Lovely; and many other beloved nieces and nephews.

Upon his passing Roland wanted his good friends to know that he cherished their friendship. They are Jim and Polly Hathaway of Gardiner, Bob McGraw and Jane Garris of Augusta, Rachel Shea of Randolph.

There will be a memorial service held in the summer of 2021.

His desire was to be cremated. A private committal service will be held at the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery on Mount Vernon Road in Augusta, with full military honors, on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

Arrangements are in the care of Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner, Maine. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website:

In lieu of flowers,

his wish was donations

may be made to:

Autism Society

of Maine

72 Main St.

Winthrop, ME 04364

Roland F. Preble

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