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NHLBI Mourns Yvette Preston

Yvette Preston, a biologist in NHLBI's Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology (LMC) for 22 years, died in late April due to complications from hip surgery.

"She was proud, genteel and elegant," said Dr. Robert Adelstein, LMC chief. "Her ready smile brightened the lives of all she met. To know her was to love her. She'll be missed by the entire laboratory."

Yvette Preston
Preston was born in 1945 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, but grew up in New York City. In 1967, she earned a B.S. degree from Howard University.

In August 1970, she married her college sweetheart, Albert "Skip" Preston. The couple adopted a son, Douglas Albert.

Preston began her career as a laboratory technician at Rockefeller University in New York City but in 1972 returned to the Washington area to work for Meloy Laboratories, first at its Springfield, Va., offices and then in Frederick, Md.

In 1982, she joined the LMC. She played an important role in the laboratory's transition from conducting research on the biochemistry of contractile proteins to investigating the molecular biology of developing mouse embryos. Preston coauthored 7 papers and her technical assistance was acknowledged on many more.

"I worked with her on a daily basis for over 20 years and her work was of the highest caliber," said Adelstein. "She had a warm, positive personality that helped her interact well with a large number of fellows and coworkers, each with a different personality. She spoke softly and listened to all who sought her ear.

"But even more than that, she acted as a generous resource when people needed to find out about research methods and techniques, and routinely gave trouble-shooting advice for our laboratory and others," Adelstein continued.

"During the past few years, she kept working hard, in spite of a severe vasculitis, which interfered with her balance and hearing," he added.

"She was a diamond, precious and rare," said Estelle Harvey, an LMC coworker. "She was truly my genuine friend. I'm very grateful to have shared such a loving relationship with her. I will always miss her and, especially, our early morning walks, our morning 'chat and chews,' and all the things we laughed about, even in difficult situations."

"She was a great coworker and a better friend," said Antoine Smith, another LMC colleague. "Yvette was like a mother to me. Almost everything I learned in the last 8 years or so, she taught me. She had a patience and professionalism that I always strived to achieve. Everything had to be perfect, whether it was at her job or at home, or spiritually or morally.

"She was a beautiful person," Smith continued. "I will think of her with love and miss her every day."

Preston's husband and father have died. Survivors include her son, mother Gwendolyn, sisters Patricia Robinson and Suzanne Froix, brother Anthony Froix and stepmother Evelyn Froix.

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