Ken, noted for his warmth and good humor, passed away peacefully Feb. 19, 2021, in hospice care in Akron, Ohio. He was born Feb. 16, 1933, in Ashland, Ohio, and graduated from Ashland High School. He attended Princeton until 1953, when he was drafted into the Army for two years. He returned to Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University with an engineering degree.
While working for the U.S. Patent Office and the Department of Navy in Washington, D.C., Ken earned a law degree at George Washington University. He subsequently served as vice president, senior counsel, and chief patent counsel for TRW in Cleveland. In 1990 he joined the University of South Florida in Tampa as director of technology transfer, the process whereby ideas become actual products. In 2001 he joined the University of Akron as associate vice president for research, director of technology transfer, and executive director of the University Research Foundation.
He was previously married to Betty Hites and later enjoyed a 32-year partnership with Nita Milbourn. For 15 years they traveled the world together, facilitating technology transfers. Ken loved bird-watching, plants, and wildlife. He was an avid music lover, following the Cleveland Orchestra for more than 40 years.
Ken is survived by Nita, son K.G. Preston III, daughter Katherine Preston, and three grandchildren.