Conservation's Fifth Director Retires

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Published on: Dec. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

commissioners, our elected officials, including our governor, and many organizations."

Presley turns 66 in December and says he is blessed with good health which will help him enjoy more outdoor time after retirement. "It seemed like the higher I moved in the organization," he said, "the less time I have to spend in the outdoors doing what I like to do."

What he especially likes to do is fish for goggle-eye. "My wife likes to fish, and we like to get down on the Gasconade or the Current or the Jack's Fork and catch goggle-eye. I think they are the best eating fish there are."

Presley said his family, including his wife, Bonnie, daughter, Nanci Beck, son, Jeffrey, and his five grandchildren will be glad to see him retire, so he can spend more time with them.

"When my children were growing up was when I was really busy, devoting a lot of time to a demanding job," he said. "Sometimes I would go to work early in the morning and wouldn't come back from firefighting until the middle of the night. Then I'd leave again in the morning before my kids woke up.

"My wife, Bonnie - bless her heart - sometimes ended up being mom and dad to the kids. She would fix me a meal of fried chicken and all the fixings and bring it to where I was working. She brought the kids, too and would say to them, 'By the way, I want to introduce you to your daddy.'"

Although he will no longer direct the Conservation Department, Presley said he intends to remain busy and involved.

"I'll sit back for a while and see how my life shapes up," he said, "but I don't think I'll become stagnant. I might find another job. Another option is volunteering. There's a lot of need out there at hospices, veteran's homes and the like."

Although the baton is being passed to a new director, Presley said the abundant natural resources of this state will continue to be in good hands, thanks to the talented people within the Conservation Department and the high level of support for conservation shown by the public and by elected officials.

"There comes a time when people should step aside and let some new blood take over," he said. "Right now, we're pretty much on track with all the goals and objectives and programs in place. And we have the confidence of the people of this state. What better time for me to leave?"

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