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Eleanor Frances Preston (born Seely)


Gender: Female

Date of Birth: March 17, 1923

Date of Death: September 29, 2016

Birth Place: Trenton, NJ

Death Place: Greenfield, WI

Eleanor Frances Preston

1923 – 2016

Preston, Eleanor Frances (Nee Seely ) Eleanor “Fran” Preston, 93 of Greenfield passed away September 29, 2016 at the Sunrise Care Center in Milwaukee. Fran was born March 17, 1923 in Trenton, New Jersey to the late Uriah and Eleanor (Goolsby) Seely. She attended Ephpheta School for the Deaf in Chicago, and then the Art Institute of Chicago. Fran was an accomplished artist, working for Rustcraft Greeting Cards in Joliet, Illinois. Returning to college when she was in her 40’s, Fran became the first deaf commencement speaker at a non-deaf school: Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. After she graduated, she became a teacher at Waubonsee although she never stopped drawing and painting. Her portrait of Jesus signing “I love you” has been reproduced and distributed to deaf people around the world. Her original pastel drawing was presented to Pope Paul VI on one of his visits to the U.S. Fran became very active in local, state and national deaf organizations, and served as Secretary and then President of the International Catholic Deaf Association. Married to her husband Michael (“Mike”) of Greenfield, they would have celebrated their 69th anniversary in October. For 45 years, they lived on the DuPage River in Shorewood, Illinois before losing their home in a historic 500 year flood. They have one son Paul, who lives in Berkeley, California with his husband Tim Lukaszewski. Fran and her husband enjoyed traveling, visiting all 50 states, Canada and Mexico including many national parks. They especially loved to camp in their motor home even into their late 80s. In addition to her immediate family, Fran is survived by brother-in-law Pete (Mary Ann) Preston of Port St. Lucie, Florida, sister-in-law Mildred Poole of Akron, Ohio and many nieces, nephews and friends. The family is especially grateful to her social worker Megan Bailey, her cardiologist Dr. Suhail Allaquband and the staff at Sunrise Care Center and Hometown Hospice. At Fran’s request, no services are planned. Private interment will take place at a later date. Contributions in Fran Preston’s memory can be made either to St. Rita School for the Deaf, 1720 Glendale Milford Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45215 or to Camp Mark Seven, Mark Seven Deaf Foundation, Inc., 144 Mohawk Hotel Road, Old Forge, NY 13420.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on October 1, 2016

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