Thomas Austin Preston, Jr., also known as “Amarillo Slim”, passed away on Sunday, April 29, 2012, in Amarillo, Texas, after a brief illness at BSA Hospice.
Graveside services will be at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, May 3, 2012, in Llano Cemetery with Dr. W. Winfred Moore, Pastor Emeritus, officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Slim was born December 31, 1928, in Johnson, Arkansas. After graduating from Amarillo High School, he went into the Navy for 2 years then served in special services for the Army performing billiard exhibitions for the troops overseas. He married Helen Elizabeth Byler in July 1950.
Slim won the World Series of Poker in 1972, and began his legacy as a world-renowned poker player. Defined by his Texas roots complete with a rattlesnake hatband, custom boots, and Texas drawl, Slim began a lifelong career setting the stage for becoming a legend within the world of poker. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1992. He appeared on numerous talk shows and played himself in the 1974 Robert Altman movie, California Split. In 1973, Slim co-authored the book “Play Poker to Win”, and in May 2003, he published his autobiography “Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People”.
Slim is survived by Helen E. Preston and his 3 children, Thomas Austin Preston, III (Bunky) of Amarillo, Rebecca Ruth Deane (Becky) of Houston, Texas and Tod Alan Preston of Amarillo; 7 grandchildren, Heather Barron and her husband Dusty of Houston, Texas, Hayley Preston, Austin Preston, Hannah Preston, Molly Preston, Caroline Preston, and Jack Preston, all of Amarillo. He had 3 great-grandchildren, Grant of Amarillo, Liam of Houston, and Avery of Amarillo.
The Preston family would like to thank the nurses and doctors at BSA Hospice in Amarillo for providing such loving care during his final days.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at the funeral home and suggests flowers to Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors or donations to BSA Hospice, P.O. Box 950, Amarillo, TX 79105.