Shirley A. Preston

Shirley A. Preston, 84, a resident of Rindge, died on Sept. 12, 2019, at the Jaffrey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center after a period of declining health, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born on Dec. 22, 1935, in Lawrence, Mass., 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 Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957. After a brief period teaching in New Hampshire public schools, she enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she earned a Master of Arts degree 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, Mich., where she supported her husband’s doctoral studies, working as a researcher in the field of parasitology at the University 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 theater 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, Fla.; granddaughter, Cameron Light and husband, Logan, of Punta Gorda, Fla.; 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, Mass. Shirley’s two brothers, Fr. Joseph DiBenedetto and Gary DiBenedetto, predeceased her.

In accordance with her wishes, there will be no calling hours held. A mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. in the St. Patrick’s Parish, 89 Main St., Jaffrey, with Father Wilfred Deschamps officiating. Burial will be private for the family.

To share a memory or offer a condolence please visit Shirley’s permanent online memorial page at