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UPDATE: Longtime legislator dies at 77
[January 10, 2013]

UPDATE: Longtime legislator dies at 77

Jan 10, 2013 (The Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Updated at 1:04 p.m.

"Jean Preston was a pioneer in the field of special education who dedicated her life to ensuring our children have the brightest future possible," said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham. "As a legislator, Sen. Preston worked tirelessly on education reform and on achieving better results for our students. She was legendary in her district for an amazing work ethic and commitment to providing outstanding constituent service. Sen. Preston was a dear friend, and my colleagues and I will miss her greatly." Funeral arrangements will be provided by the North Carolina Senate Principal Clerk's office once they are available.

-- Updated at 11:07 a.m.

A longtime state legislator from Carteret County died early Thursday morning at a Connecticut hospital where she had been in intensive care following a serious fall.

Jean Preston, 77, R-Emerald Isle, who just completed a final term in the General Assembly, served a combined 20 years in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

"We've lost an angel in Eastern North Carolina but God has gained an angel in heaven. Our hearts are breaking" said state Rep. Pat McElraft, Preston's close friend and a colleague in the General Assembly, shortly after hearing about Preston's passing.

Preston had wrapped up her final days in office and was visiting friends when the fall occurred, family members said.

She announced last January that she would not seek re-election, deciding to retire after two decades in public service.

Preston served seven terms in the N.C. House of Representatives before being elected to the District 2 Senate seat representing Carteret, Craven and Pamlico counties.

Before she was elected to the General Assembly, Preston served in the classroom as a teacher in North Carolina schools. Education was her priority issue and she was known for her passion for improving public schools.

-- Retired state Sen. Jean Preston remains in serious condition a week after initial reports that she was in a Connecticut hospital.

Rep. Pat McElraft, Preston's friend and colleague in General Assembly, said Wednesday night that the latest information from the family is that her condition remains serious.

"Sen. Preston is in serious condition in intensive care and the family asks that we keep her in our prayers," McElraft said.

Preston, 77, of Emerald Isle, just completed her final term in office after serving a combined 20 years in the state House of Representatives and the Senate.

She was visiting friends in Connecticut when she sustained a serious fall. The family denied initial media reports that Preston had a heart attack.

___ (c)2013 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) Visit The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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