Dorothy “Doffy” McCann Preston died peacefully in Damariscotta, Maine on October 29, 2018, surrounded by her family. Doffy was born on March 23, 1931 in Mamaroneck, New York, to Richard and Dorothy McCann. She was educated at Rye Country Day School and Wellesley College, and received a Masters in Art History from Harvard University, writing a thesis on Pre-Columbian art of the Americas at a time when leading art historians regarded the ancient art of the Americas as unworthy of being exhibited in an art museum. In 1953, she married Jerome (Jerry) Preston Jr., and together they celebrated sixty happy years of marriage. In 1960, they moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, so that their three rambunctious sons had more space to run around.
Doffy extended her motherly love to many children in Wellesley, even starting her own preschool, called The Magic School, for her boys and her friends’ children. She loved traveling with her family to Africa, Europe, and backpacking in the American West—and spending summers in Round Pond, Maine. After raising her sons, Doffy started a new career teaching art history at Pine Manor College in Brookline, Mass., where her enthusiasm and skill as a teacher made her courses among the most popular. One year, about half the student body tried to enroll in her class. Upon retirement from Pine Manor, Doffy trained in painting with Wellesley College art professor and distinguished artist Bunny Harvey, and she devoted herself to creating artworks in a variety of media, including paintings in oil and tempera, charcoal drawings, textile and paper creations, and assemblages and collections of objects she found. She loved poking around by the Maine seashore, and she prowled through junk shops and public dumps. (She had exceptionally sharp eyes and an uncanny knack for finding small, curious, and often very beautiful objects, including pebbles, bones, weird boxes, feathers, bottles, fossils, leaves, and oddities of unnoticed trash.) She worked in studios in Boston and Round Pond. She also founded a docent program at the Wellesley College Art Museum. For this program, she recruited and trained local women to be gallery speakers and brought in many school groups, exposing local children and others in the community to the world of art. This program became an important link between Wellesley College and the surrounding towns, and was so successful that when Doffy retired, the college hired two paid full-time directors to do what Doffy had done for free!
In later years, Doffy and Jerry divided their time between Cambridge, Mass., and “Green Pastures,” their place in Round Pond, where they enjoyed their children and grandchildren, of whom they were very proud. They moved to Schooner Cove retirement community in Damariscotta, Maine, in 2009.
Doffy is predeceased by her husband, Jerry, and her sister, Anna Marguerite McCann Taggart.
She is survived by her son Richard and his wife Michelle of Hopewell, NJ, her son Douglas and his wife Christine of Santa Fe, New Mexico, her son David and his wife Janet of China, Maine, and her grandchildren Selene, Aletheia, Isaac, Marguerite, Laura, Oliver, Churchill, Beth, and Richard.
Doffy touched the lives of everyone she met with her kindness. She took a vibrant interest in the people who surrounded her and had a gift for bringing out the good in everybody. We left her presence each time buoyed anew by her love and encouragement, and we in turn loved her dearly. She will be sorely missed on Earth, but welcomed with open arms in heaven by Jerry.
The family would especially like to thank the wonderful staff at Chase Point Assisted Living, in Damariscotta, and Dr. Tim Goltz, for their care of Mom.
A memorial celebration of Doffy’s life will be held next summer, the date to be posted at the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home Memorial Page. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a contribution to South China Community Church, PO Box 335, China, ME 04358.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.