One of the original leaders at the Discovery Children’s Museum, Vincent “Jim” Presti, passed away last week, according Presti’s longtime friend Gary Ogren.
Presti, 81, lived a true immigrant family success story, according to Ogren. His grandmother was a Sicilian immigrant who sold cheese and bread on the streets of Cleveland until she had raised enough money to bring the rest of her family to the U.S.
Presti was the first in his family to earn a college degree, according to Ogren. He was devoted to inspiring youth, such as his days as a teacher in Cleveland, where he would often help high school students connect with local business leaders to teach them the ins and outs of the business world.
He retired from education in 1988 and moved to Las Vegas, becoming the executive director of the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum and spending three years with the hand-on science museum.
“If there is an exhibit kids and adults can’t touch, it shouldn’t be in the museum,” Presti told the Review-Journal in 1990.
“He was an educator all the way through,” said Ogren, Presti’s friend of 36 years.
In March, the museum dropped the ‘Lied’ portion of it’s name and moved to its current three-story location at 360 Promenade Place, near the Smith Center for the Performing arts.
Presti died in his Henderson home on Aug. 29, Ogren said.
“I’m gonna miss him terrible,” Ogren said.
According to Ogren, a memorial service will be held at the Discovery Children’s Museum at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 3. To RSVP, call 702-547-9585 by Sept. 27.
Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at email@example.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.