EMERALD ISLE - Former North Carolina Senator Jean Rouse Preston, 77, a retired educator and North Carolina public servant, passed away Thursday January 10, 2013, in Waterbury, Connecticut.
A native of Greene County, Jean was born May 25, 1935, the daughter of Marvin Wayne and Emma Mae Kearney Rouse. Following graduation from Snow Hill High School, Jean attended Flora MacDonald College before receiving both her Bachelor's Degree in Business Education and Master's Degree in Education from East Carolina University. Jean furthered her education by continuing post-Master's work and completing the Public Manager Program at NC State's Personnel Development Center.
A lifetime committed to promoting education and higher learning, Jean started her professional career teaching business education in the Wilson County Schools, Lenior Community College and Greene County Schools where she also became a special education teacher. Jean later became the Director of Reading for K-12 students and Program Administrator for Children with Special Needs in Greene County. Jean finished her career in education at Caswell Center in Kinston by serving as Principal of Barnes School and as Director of Education.
Following the death of her husband, Hugh Forbes Hardy, Jean moved from her beloved Greene County to reside a short time in Kinston before retiring to Carteret County where she later married Retired US Army Colonel John Edward Preston, who also precedes her in death. Jean established her home in Carteret County and enjoyed a brief respite before launching a career of public service that would span two decades.
First elected in 1992 to the North Carolina General Assembly as a member of the House of Representatives, Jean served seven terms, representing Carteret, Jones and Onslow Counties, before being elected in 2007 to the North Carolina Senate serving Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties. Upon her retirement in December of 2012, Jean left a legacy as a Legislator who worked tirelessly on education reform to ensure our children have the best future possible. Her amazing work ethic and commitment to providing outstanding constituent service was unparalleled.
Jean is survived by daughter, Suzanne Hardy Castleberry and husband, Jeff; grandchildren, Cameron Hardy Castleberry and Jeffrey Parker Castleberry Jr., all of Raleigh; brothers, Charles A. Rouse and wife, Deedee of Ocean Pines, Maryland, and Thomas M. "Tommy" Rouse and wife, Sandy, of Dallas, Texas; step-daughter, Pam Reed of Virginia; and a dear friend, Bill Hebert of Carteret County and his family. Additionally, Jean was preceded in death by daughter,Lisa Forbes Hardy and brothers, L.W. "Sandy" Rouse and Stephen Reynolds Rouse.
The family will receive friends 5 – 7 p.m. Sunday, January 13, at Taylor-Tyson Funeral Service, 117 NW Third Street, Snow Hill, North Carolina.
Funeral Services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, January 14, at the chapel of Taylor-Tyson Funeral Service with Reverend Dr. Stewart LaNeave and Pastor Scott Hardy officiating. Interment will follow at the Fairview Cemetery in LaGrange.
A Memorial Service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, January 19, at the Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church, 100 Yaupon Drive, Cape Carteret, North Carolina, where Jean was a member.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Jean R. Preston Distinguished Young Women of Carteret County Scholarship, c/o the Carteret Council of Women, 147 Lake Arthur Drive, Newport, North Carolina, 28570.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.taylor-tyson.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Taylor-Tyson Funeral Service, Snow Hill, North Carolina.