After a tireless and honourable battle with Parkinson’s disease, we report with sadness that Exercise Tiger veteran Mr T. D. Prestridge, Jr., 84, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 23, 2010 at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria.
A native of Tioga, Mr. Prestridge was born on November 13, 1925 to the late Thomas DeWitt Prestridge, Sr. and Nora Daniels Prestridge. Upon his high school graduation in 1942, T. D. enlisted in the United States Naval Service at the young age of 17. He would later come to play a role in the pre-D-Day Normandy Invasion operation known as Exercise Tiger. On that fateful night in April of 1944, over 1,000 members of the VII Corps assigned to Utah Beach perished or were wounded in the English Channel off the German-occupied French coast, but T.D. and his LST shipmates were fortunate enough to avoid the Nazi E-boats and survived.
T.D. was honourably discharged from the Navy and went on to attend the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now UL-Lafayette) and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering. Shortly after graduation he met and married Amy Garrot. For over 30 years, he worked for the Soil Conservation Service (within the United States Department of Agriculture) as a civil engineer. He specialised in the Watershed Planning Department, designing such man-made lakes as Indian Creek and Cotile. After retirement, he was a consulting engineer with the Red River Waterway Commission, where he was primarily responsible for acquiring the necessary right-of-ways towards developing navigation on the river. He also belonged to the Association of Professional Civil Engineers, and was a registered land surveyor. In his later years, he enjoyed his time as a member of the United States LST Association, travelling with and visiting his friends from the military.
Along with his current residence, T.D. also worked and lived in Marksville and Thibodaux. He will be remembered as an avid hunter and fisherman, and greatly enjoyed traveling with his family to Toledo Bend every summer. He was also a frequent card player and unwavering sports fan, having been a high school basketball player and YMCA basketball coach. He was the founder and first president of the Alexandria Senior High School Trojan Booster Club, as well as a leader for Boy Scout Pack #76, based at Horseshoe Drive Elementary School. He was a loyal parishioner of St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church and St. Rita’s Catholic Church. Throughout his life, T.D. was respected and admired as a selfless, brave role model to others.
He was preceded in death by his first wife of 37 years, Amy Garrot Prestridge; seven siblings, and a stepdaughter.
He is survived by his second wife of the past 13 years,, Madeline Tullos Prestridge of Alexandria; four children, Ann Remillard (Gary) of Shreveport, Paula Odom (Lee) of Alexandria, Mary Faircloth of Alexandria and John Prestridge (Geralyn) of Lafayette; eight grandchildren, Chris Remillard (Christine), Allison Soileau (Joey), Scott Remillard (Beth), Melissa Lachney (Brice Cappel), Brandon Lachney, Drew Prestridge, Aimee Prestridge and Amy Odom; two step grandchildren, Bo Faircloth and Jenna Faircloth, and six great grandchildren. He is also survived by one stepdaughter, Cindy McCormick (David), and two stepsons, Rip Tullos, (Joy) and Mike Tullos (Kim), along with many additional family members, friends, and loved ones.