Baltimore Sun

Jennifer Jean Preston

Former restaurant veteran, home chef and paralegal was known for her gregarious personalit­y and creativity

- By Jacques Kelly

Jennifer Jean Preston, a paralegal, home chef and former restaurant worker, died July 10 at her home in the Abell community of North Baltimore. She was 51.

Her sister, Sarah Standiford, said the cause of death had not been determined.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Homeland, she was the daughter of Richard Preston, a member of the Presbyteri­an clergy, and Stephanie Pfeiffer, a homemaker and parent educator.

She attended Friends School of Baltimore and Garrison Forest School and was a 1989 John Carroll High School graduate. She played lacrosse and field hockey. She later enjoyed climbing and skiing.

Ms. Preston earned a bachelor’s degree at what is now McDaniel College.

She traveled widely as a young person and in later years lived in Colorado, Virginia, California, Washington, D.C., and Easton before returning to Baltimore to be near her family. She was gregarious and made friends wherever she traveled, family members said.

Her sister said she had a lengthy career at local restaurant­s. She was a server at the old Jeannier’s, a French restaurant in the Broadview on West 39th Street. She also worked at Cork’s in Federal Hill.

“She was also a talented home chef before becoming a full-time mother,” her sister said. “She had high standards in food and giving comfort to her guests. She was legendary for her Thanksgivi­ng stuffing, hors d’oeuvres and oyster casserole made from a Standiford family recipe.”

“Jenny was creative, bold and sensitive,” her sister said. “She had the ability to give joy. She also had an inexhausti­ble capacity and talent for sewing and home decor.”

She learned upholstery and worked on outdoor furniture and custom boat cushions. She learned quilting from her mother.

Said her brother Mather Preston: “She was outgoing and athletic. I remember seeing her play women’s lacrosse at the Hopkins stadium. When she went into restaurant work, she was good at it. She approached it as a profession and built up regular customers.”

Her brother recalled that while living in New York City, she became a restaurant server on the Upper West Side in the late 1990s.

“She served Barbara Walters breakfast many days,” her brother said.

He also said, “She was my good older sister. She guided me.”

She married Karim Sharif, a software engineer and architect, in 2004, but the couple divorced.

Ms. Preston went on to earn a paralegal certificat­e from Anne Arundel Community College and received academic honors. She became a paralegal and worked for Maryland state Sen. James C. Rosapepe in Anne Arundel County before the coronaviru­s pandemic.

“Her greatest pride and joy were her daughters, Jordan and Keira,” said her sister. “Jenny was a good mother and caregiver.”

“Jenny had struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder. Through those challenges, she demonstrat­ed her strength and capacity to overcome,” her sister said. “In treatment communitie­s, she excelled as a caretaker of others. She was a good community contributo­r. She always greeted strangers as friends, especially those less fortunate. She understood that everyone is in a position to both receive and give help.”

Her sister added, “She rescued more than a few dogs and cats over the


“My mother was like a wildfire. I really don’t know how else to describe her; nothing could touch her without getting a little burnt,” said her daughter Jordan Sharif. “But she was also my torch of light through the hardest part of my life.”

“She was a sensitive person and helped me to become more sensitive,” said her sister. “Our family, the Prestons, Standiford­s and Pfeiffers, all learned from her. We learned the power of never giving up from her.”

Survivors include her mother, Stephanie Standiford of Homeland; her mother’s husband, Hal Standiford; two daughters, Jordan Sharif and Keira Sharif, both of the Annapolis area; two brothers, Chris Preston of Towson and Mather Preston of Columbia; and a sister, Sarah Standiford of South Portland, Maine. Her birth father, the Rev. Richard Preston, died in 2009.

Plans for a life celebratio­n are incomplete.

 ?? ?? Jennifer Jean Preston was an accomplish­ed cook whose Thanksgivi­ng stuffing, hors d’oeuvres and oyster casserole were relished.
Jennifer Jean Preston was an accomplish­ed cook whose Thanksgivi­ng stuffing, hors d’oeuvres and oyster casserole were relished.

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