Preston Palanio was a 13-year-old hockey player from Port Falls, Idaho, who died by suicide on May 25, 2022. He was a member of the Coeur d’Alene Hockey Association (CDAHA) and a beloved son, brother, and friend. His death shocked and saddened his family and community, who remembered him as a talented, joyful, and caring person.
A Passionate and Competitive Athlete
Preston was born on March 26, 2009, in Summit, New Jersey, six minutes before his twin sister, Charlotte. He grew up in a loving family, with his parents, Susan and Kent Palanio, and his older brother, Adam. He moved to Idaho with his family in 2017, and attended Post Falls Middle School.
Preston loved hockey and played for the CDAHA since he was six years old. He was a gifted and hardworking player, who always showed up to play for his team. He was a co-captain of the Bantam A team and a leader on and off the ice. He also enjoyed fishing, golfing, and playing video games with his friends.
A Loyal and Generous Friend
Preston had a close bond with his twin sister, Charlotte, who was his lifelong companion and best friend. They supported each other through their hardships, and shared their love for music, art, and literature. They were inseparable, and completed each other.
Preston also had many friends, who loved him for his radiant smile, his generous heart, and his witty sense of humor. He was caring, undeniably beautiful, smart, funny, engaging, and loving. He was always there for his friends, and never hesitated to help them in any way he could. He was especially close to Whitney Weldon, who has a rare disorder called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), which causes the muscles and connective tissues to turn into bone. Preston was a source of support and comfort for Whitney, and helped raise awareness and funds for FOP research.
A Tragic and Unexpected Loss
Preston struggled with mental health issues, such as depression and bipolar disorder. He also battled with drug addiction for most of his life, and had several run-ins with the law. He tried to overcome his problems, but never found the stability and happiness he deserved. He died of a drug overdose on Christmas Eve morning, at his fiancé’s parents’ home in St. Louis, Missouri. He was found unresponsive in his room, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Preston’s death was mourned by his family and friends, who celebrated his life and honored his memory. His funeral was held on June 4, 2022, at the One Place Church in Hayden, Idaho. He was buried next to his father, who had died in 2018, at the Greenwood Cemetery in Kellogg, Idaho. A memorial service was also held on June 6, 2022, at the Old Dominion University Theatre in Norfolk, Virginia, where Preston had taught music for several years. The service featured performances by his friends and former students, who paid tribute to his musical talent and legacy.
Preston’s death marked the end of an era, as he was the last surviving member of the original Palanio family. His mother had died in 2019, and his sister had died in 2021. However, his memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him, and in the pages of his father’s books, which continue to inspire and entertain millions of readers around the world.