Shirley A Preston, 84, a resident of Rindge, NH died on September 12, 2019 at the Jaffrey Rehabilitation & Nursing Center after a period of declining health, surrounded by her loving family.
She was born on December 22, 1935 in Lawrence, MA, a daughter of the late Joseph and Mary(Lavoie) DiBenedetto, and was raised there as a member of a large, close-knit family. She attended Lawrence public schools and then Merrimack College, graduating with a B.A. in 1957. After a brief period teaching in NH public schools, she enrolled at the Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst where she earned an M.A. in Zoology. Shirley remained in the Amherst area for several years, working as a researcher at the Stockbridge School of Dairy and Animal Science. During this time, she met and married William Preston. In 1963, the couple moved to Ann Arbor, MI where she supported her husband’s doctoral studies, working as a researcher in the field of Parasitology at the Univ. of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
She moved to New Hampshire in 1968, residing in Peterborough, Jaffrey and Rindge over the next 51 years. During this time, she taught dressmaking courses at the Sharon Art Center, served as leader of a Girl Scout troop, and managed the Franklin Pierce College Store. Shirley enjoyed life in the Monadnock region, from hiking trails with her dog to attending outstanding musical and live theatre performances. She especially loved cooking, and often seemed happiest when working in her kitchen, preparing a sumptuous meal for family or friends.
Shirley leaves behind her husband William Preston of Rindge, daughter Jennifer Burpee and husband Ellery of Port Charlotte, FL, granddaughter Cameron Light and husband Logan of Punta Gorda, FL, granddaughter Ayla McLellan and husband Jaimie of Jaffrey, great granddaughter Freyja McLellan of Jaffrey, and her sister Linda DiBenedetto and husband John Mohr of Somerville, MA. Shirley’s two brothers, Fr. Joseph DiBenedetto and Gary DiBenedetto, predeceased her.
SERVICES: In accordance with her wishes, there will be no calling hours held. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, October 18, 2019 at 2:00 PM in the St. Patrick’s Parish, 89 Main Street, Jaffrey NH with Father Wilfred Dechamps officiating. Burial will be private for the family.