Dr. Preston A. McLendon, 87, a former well know Washington pediatricain, who had served as a member of the D.C. board of education, died Friday at the Bethesda Retirement and Nursing Center, which he had entered about a month ago. He had a heart ailment.
Dr. McLendon, who had maintained a private practice in Washington from 1921 until retiring in 1969, also had taught at the George Washington University School of Medicine for 38 years. He was a former president of the D.C. Medical society.
His term on the school board ran from 1957 to 1966, when he did not seek reappointment because of ill health. During those years, school board members were appointed by the judges of District Court here. They have been elected since 1969.
At the time of his appointment, Dr. McLendon said he accepted it because he felt the board members and school staff "ought to have a physician at their beck and call."
He worked for better health services in the schools. On one of the major controversial issues of the time, the track system, which placed pupils in differrent instructional programs according to their abilities, he took a guarded stand. He called for abandoning the system in elementary schools but retaining it in junior and senior high schools. The system was abolished in all schools in 1969.
For his work on the board of education, Dr. McLendon received the A. H. Robins Company Award from the D.C. Medical Society in 1956. He had served as president in the Society in 1954-55.
He also had served as a member and chairman of the D.C. Commissioners' Youth Council from 1956 to 1963. For that service he received the Meritorious Public Service Award from the commissioners.
Dr. MdLendon was born in Wadesboro, N.C. He graduated from Wake Forest College in North Carolina and received his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1915.
During World War I, he served with the Marines as a battalion surgeon with the 2nd Army Division in France and later with the occupation Army. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.
In 1919, Dr. McLendon became a pediatric resident at Childrens Hospital here. He later was active on staff of Childrens Hospital, retiring there in 1959. He retired as a professor at George Washington University Medical School that same year.
He had served on the President's Committee for the Employment of the Physicaly Handicapped.
Dr. McLendon was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, the American Association of Ortho Psychiatry, the Eastern Psychoanalytic Society, the Hippocrates-Galen Society and the Cosoms Club.
After his retirement in 1969, he moved to Harpers Ferry, W. Va. He returned to the Washington area three years ago and made his home in Arlington.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Thompson, of Arlington; a daughter, Mrs. John F. Westfall, of Phoenix, Ariz; a son, Preston A., of McLean, and nine grandchildren.