Loren Preheim, 65, a leader in children's social services

Loren D. Preheim, 65, formerly of Rosemont, who headed Presbyterian Children's Village Services for more than 30 years, died of an apparent heart attack Feb. 14 at his home in Lancaster.

Presbyterian Children's Village initially operated as an orphanage when it moved from Philadelphia to a former estate in Rosemont in 1960. Later, under Mr. Preheim's supervision as director and later president, Presbyterian Children's Village was renovated and expanded and a satellite center in Southwest Philadelphia opened. The social services organization now includes foster and adoption programs, mental health outpatient care for children and teenagers, and residential facilities in Rosemont for troubled teenagers.

20070303_inq_o-spreh03-e

Until moving to Lancaster two years ago, Mr. Preheim and his wife, Rosi Schmidt Preheim, lived on the Rosemont campus. They moved there in 1969 to be houseparents in one of the cottages. At the time, Mr. Preheim was a doctoral candidate in modern religious thought at the University of Pennsylvania. He became assistant director of the Children's Village while still at Penn. When the director died, Mr. Preheim was promoted to that position and never completed his doctoral thesis, his wife said. "He dedicated his life to children in need," she said. He had been planning to retire this month.

A native of Freeman, S.D., he earned a bachelor's degree from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., where he played trumpet in the band and was on the golf team.

A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Mr. Preheim performed alternative service from 1963 to 1965 for the Mennonite Central Committee in Lancaster County. He met his wife, a native of Austria, in Lancaster County. They married in 1967. For a year, Mr. Preheim studied theology at the University of Vienna and then earned a master's degree in divinity from Harvard University.

An enthusiastic soccer and Boston Red Sox fan, he coached youth soccer and baseball in Radnor when his two sons were growing up. He enjoyed birding and genealogy, classical music, and annual trips to Vienna, Austria, his wife said. Every year he "followed the footsteps" of a different Viennese composer, she said, and visited the streets where they lived.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Preheim is survived by sons Loren "Misha" and Christopher, and a brother.

A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. today at Presbyterian Children's Village, 452 S. Roberts Rd., Rosemont, Pa. 19010. Memorial donations may be made to Presbyterian Children's Village Services at the Rosemont address.


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.