Preston Lee Bouie was born on January 22, 1926 to Vennie Bouie and Emma Reed. He attended Wyman Crow Elementary School and a graduate of Vashon High School, class of June, 1944. He served two years in the United States Navy with an honorable discharge. His career with the St. Louis Fire Department motivated and assured his co-workers that they too could be promoted to higher positions.
Preston joined the Fire Department in 1952 and was assigned to Engine House 28 on Enright Avenue and later transferred to Engine 10 on Kennerly Avenue. The Fire Department became integrated in 1961, where he was the first black to be promoted to captain in 1963. This assignment marked the first time a black officer ever worked in South St. Louis Fire Station in a command position.
In 1976, he was promoted and became the first black battalion chief in the 119-year history of the Fire Department.
In August 1978, Preston was promoted to the rank of deputy fire chief, the first time a black man had ever become a deputy chief in the St Louis Fire Department. His platoons composed of 30 engine houses 54 fire companies, 284 men and citywide duties and responsibilities.
In 1983, Preston was promoted to the rank of assistant fire chief, marking the first time a black man had ever become an assistant fire chief in the history of the City of St. Louis. Being second in command with citywide responsibilities over all three platoons, Bouie acted as chief during the fire chief's absence.
As assistant fire chief, Preston travelled over 10 years and shared his knowledge with other cities and countries in the consulting firm of Carl Holmes of Oklahoma City and Dr. Larry O'Leary of St. Louis, as an assessor and panelist.
He retired on January 2, 1987 after 35 years of service. His legacy continued through a new, incoming class, named on his behalf, the Preston L. Bouie Class of 2002.
The retired assistant fire chief lived a spiritually rich life and religious membership with Washington Metropolitan A. M. E. Zion Church. Preston served on the Trustee Board and Finance Committee. Community affiliations and recognitions include: St. Louis Cancer Society, Monsanto YMCA Golden Triangle Club, Toastmasters International, United Negro College Fund, Vashon High School Hall of Fame, St. Louis Argus Distinguished Citizen Award. He served in mayoral administrations under Poelker, Conway, Schoemehl and Bosley; Missouri Division of Fire Inspection - Columbia Missouri; Proclamations : Board of Aldermen, Missouri House of Representatives, Missouri Senate and United States Congress; Cambridge, England Fire Department; and Mombasa Fire Brigade, Kenya, Africa.
Preston leaves to mourn: his high school sweet heart and wife of 70 years, the former Stella M. Mosby; brother Alonzo Bouie (Pauline); daughters, Claudina Anita Bouie (deceased), Dr. Sylvia N. Bouie-Saddler (Robert, deceased) and Rev. Sheila N. Bouie-Sledge (Clifford). A niece, Deborah Bouie; grandsons Terrence Robert Saddler (Ashlee), Donald Sheldon Sledge and Christopher Green (Cinnamon); and a granddaughter, Tara Evans Herron (Stephen); and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Special cousins: Georgia Anderson and Louise Williamson and a hosts of nieces and nephews, friends and members of the congregation.
In lieu of cards and flowers, please consider a donation to Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Please make checks payable to: Washington University Knight ADRC and mail to: Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Washington University, 4488 Forest Park Avenue, Suite 130, St. Louis, Missouri 63108-2293. Attention: Dr. Virginia Buckles.