Decorated WWII veteran Dr. Preston J. Hubbard, professor emeritus of history at APSU, died at the age of 98 on Feb. 17, 2016.
Albert Randall, a long-time colleague and friend of Hubbard, said in a released document that Hubbard was “assigned to the 409-degree Signal Company in the Philippines, was taken prisoner [in] April, 1942 on the Bataan Peninsula, [and] survived the Bataan Death March, 65 miles with little food or water.”
Preston was honorably discharged on Feb. 26, 1946, and received several awards for his service, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the POW Medal, the Victory Ribbon WWII, the Philippine Liberation Medal and five others.
Randall said, “Surviving the atrocities mentioned is reason enough to honor [Hubbard] as an American hero, but he is a hero for other reasons that are just as important.” He said Hubbard refused to “use his past victimization as excuses for personal difficulties and disappointments.”
After his military service, Hubbard received his Ph.D from, Vanderbilt University, and began teaching at APSU in 1955. He retired as chair of the History and Philosophy Department in 1988, after 33 years of service.
Randall said one of Hubbard’s most recognizable features was his sense of humor. He said Hubbard continued the war against Japan by refusing to buy Japanese cars.
“After years of buying American automobiles, he gave up on them and purchased a Honda, one of the three he would own,” Randall said. “On an October day in 1992, I took him to pick up his new Honda. The very next day, we had a celebration in the department, declaring ‘the real, official end of the War in the Pacific.”’
Randall also mentioned Hubbard’s late wife, Ruth Hubbard, who died 12 years earlier.
“There are millions of unknown heroes who quietly live in our towns and cities, whose lives are intertwined with loved ones who have served and sacrificed in our country,” Randall said.
The dedication of Hubbard’s second book, “Apocalypse Undone,” lists in the dedications, “[To] Ruth Ann Perry Hubbard, my beloved wife.”
A graveside service for Hubbard was held on Feb. 19, under the direction of Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home.