Jean Bender Preston of Akron, Ohio and Naples, Florida died surrounded by family on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at the age of 86. She was born in Peninsula, Ohio on November 30, 1933 to the late Elizabeth and Henry Bender.
Happily married for 49 years, she was the beloved wife of the late Ernest R. Preston Jr. Meeting on a blind date in high school, they married in 1953. After a stint in the Navy in St. Simons Island, Ga., they moved back to Akron to start their family of 4 children and enjoyed a wonderful circle of friends. Over the years they built Jaite Packaging, Inc. where Jean served as VP of Jaite Investments.
Jean graduated from Laurel School in Cleveland and Briarcliff College in Briarcliff Manor, NY. She was compassionate, thoughtful and assertive. She was a great delegator and was always efficient in her philanthropic endeavors. She gave freely of her time to multiple community organizations, most notably Past-President of The Junior League of Akron, Trustee Emeritus of Old Trail School, member of the Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital, member of the Akron Garden Club, Past-Chair of the Trinity by the Cove’s Naples Antique Show, and helped establish the Naples Botanical Garden. She was a longtime member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Akron, Trinity by the Cove, Naples, Portage Country Club, and Port Royal Club.
Her passions included dancing with Ernie, her gardens, flower arranging, entertaining, and cooking…she could master any recipe. She relished interior design and construction projects. A loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, family was a priority and she always made it fun.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Ernie; son, Edward “Ted” Preston; and brother, Robert C. Bender. She is survived by her children, Lisa Preston (James) Bertles of Palm Beach, FL, Ernest R. “Chip” (Laura Billow) Preston, III of Akron, and Page Preston (Jeff) Growney of New Canaan, CT; 10 grandchildren, Kate Bertles (James) Hennigan, Preston Bertles (Peter) Stamm, and Alex Bertles, Haley, Ann, and Tether Preston, Thomas, Ted, Mettler, and Elizabeth Growney; and 3 great grandchildren, James and Caroline Hennigan and William Stamm. She is also survived by sister, Gail Bender McLean; and sister-in-law, Donna Reycraft Bender.
Following a private graveside burial, a Memorial Service will be held 1:00 p.m. Saturday, February 22, 2020, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1361 W. Market St., Akron, OH. 44313
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Old Trail School, P.O. Box 827, Bath, OH 44210 www.oldtrail.org or to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., FL. 17, Chicago IL 60601 www.alz.org.
Services in the care of The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory Fairlawn Chapel 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333
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