Carol Ann Guagliardo Preston
Carol Ann Guagliardo Preston, born July 21, 1943 in Milwaukee WI, died November 24th, 2019 at the Grace Living Facility in Stillwater. She was the daughter of children of immigrants from Luxemburg and Germany on one side and Sicily on the other, a heritage that had considerable influence on her. Her parents, Anna Anzia and Samuel Guagliardo, like many children of immigrants, were determined that their children would have a good education and worked long hours in their family hardware store to make sure of this goal. Like many such families, they were close-knit, and much of her childhood was spent with her extended family on both sides; memories of that closeness were very dear to her.
She studied broadcast, Spanish, and education at Marquette University and after college volunteered to teach for two years in British Honduras (now Belize). She traveled throughout Central America, perfecting her Spanish and experiencing the lives of those from different cultures in ways that sharpened her life-long dedication to social justice.
When she returned home she taught English as a second language in the Milwaukee public schools but only a short time before being recognized as an outstanding teacher and offered a scholarship to Georgetown University for MA level studies. She studied there with many leaders in the fields of language teaching and learning as well as linguistics. She retuned to Milwaukee as an ESL teacher but later moved to the Washington DC area to take a similar position in the Montgomery County (Maryland) schools. During that time she met her husband-to-be, Dennis R. Preston, a professor of linguistics.
After her marriage Carol continued work as an ESL teacher and eventually served as a teacher trainer for both ESL and bilingual education programs at various universities. In Western New York, she was the director of one of the few elementary school dual-maintenance bilingual education programs during a period of federal funding for such programs under Title VII. She also continued her work in teacher education in such places as Hawai'i, Brazil, and Poland, and made many contributions to meetings and conferences around the US and the world.
After their move to Michigan in 1983, Carol took on only part-time work due to professional travel. She continued to train teachers and work in university and community college programs, focusing for the first time on adult immigrant language education. This work allowed her to put more and more energy into areas of personal growth and into organizations and movements that showed a concern for social justice. Although she claimed to hate getting there, Carol loved travel after she got there, not so much for the list of typical tourist sights as for the opportunity to interact with people in their various cultural settings and to learn from such encounters.
When she came to Stillwater 12 years ago, she had retired completely and focused all her energies on learning and serving. Although injustice around the world was always a concern for her, she immediately acquainted herself with Oklahoma problems, current and historical, and became one of Angie Debow's biggest fans. She was a student at and an organizer for the Osher Lifelong Learning Center and a member and officer of the Stillwater League of Women Voters as well as the Payne County Democrats. Most recently she spearheaded an effort to include Stillwater in the growing group of States and municipalities that have outlined goals to combat climate change, a fact she connected to her belief in social justice.
She is survived by husband Dennis Preston of Stillwater, brother John Guagliardo (Jane) of Chicago IL and offspring, and sister Rita Guagliardo of Reisterstown MD and offspring, as well as stepdaughter Ellen Motohashi (Toshiya) of Tokyo and grandsons Kazuya and Kaito.
In short, she lived a life of the mind and the heart, a rare combination. Persons who would like to remember her with a gift should consider donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, People for the American Way, Vote Smart, or other organizations that promote social justice and participation by all in the democratic process. A memorial gathering will be held for her at the Stillwater Public Library Auditorium from 2:00 until 5:45, December 14th with a short program around 3:30.
Published on December 1, 2019


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Patricia Cukor-Avila
Dec 11, 2019
My fondest memories of Carol center around meals with fabulous food, great wine (chosen by Dennis, of course), but mostly the warmth of her wonderful smile and the presence of her kind and gentle spirit. Seems like that scene was repeated dozens of times at linguistics conferences in various parts of the world, most recently this summer at the LSA Institute in Davis, CA. (in the photo). So many good times, so much laughter, and such interesting conversations. Simply put she was one of a kind and I will miss her dearly.
Sue Gass
Dec 11, 2019
Dennis, my most sincere condolences to you and family and friends. Carol was an amazing woman and I feel blessed to have known her. Her kindness and gentleness were attributes that I wish more people had. She will be remembered in my heart always.
Jessi Grieser
Dec 11, 2019
The world would need only a handful more Carols to be an immeasurably better place. So grateful our brief time in Tennessee this spring, so that even more of us can live by her example. She is already greatly, greatly missed. Many prayers and condolences to Dennis and family.
Gregory Guy
Dec 10, 2019
Carol was a warm, engaging and inspiring presence at every conference. It always gave me a lift to see her smile, and to talk with her to catch up on what was happening in our lives. It's a great sadness to lose her. My heartfelt condolences to Dennis and their families.
Jon Bakos
Dec 10, 2019
A master's student of mine got a talk accepted at SECOL, and I couldn't go with her. I knew she wasn't going to know anyone there, but the first person I said she should to talk to there was Carol, because I knew she would help her feel at home.
Jon Bakos
Dec 10, 2019
Written in the Stars was purchased for the family of Carol Ann Guagliardo Preston by Jon Bakos.  Send flowers
Ron Butters and Stewart Aycock
Dec 10, 2019
The loss of Carol is a great shock to us. She was a kind and supportive person to us both in our many meetings during the past 40 years (or more). She was a knowledgeable and professional colleague, but we loved her as a friend.
Lisa Jeon Ox
Dec 06, 2019
Dear Dennis: You and Carol have both been positive influences in my life since the very beginning of my journey with linguistics. And Carol was one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. She was a true inspiration to everyone around her and I'm lucky to have known her. I still remember the first time I met Carol when you hosted me and a group of linguists in Oklahoma during a research trip. She was so warm and welcoming and immediately made me feel comfortable. Since then, I've had the pleasure of hanging out with you and Carol at many linguistics events and conferences around the world. I will always treasure those wonderful memories. Carol was an amazing woman and she will... truly be missed. There will never be another quite like her and her memory will live on forever in our hearts.Read more
Penny Eckert
Dec 06, 2019
Rebecca Roeder's picture of Carol at SECOL breaks my heart and at the same time fills it with joy.
Sonja Lanehart
Dec 06, 2019
Carol was such a kind and wonderful woman. I learned more about her this past year that I hadn't known and it was always heartwarming to learn of her kindness, commitment, and devotion to others. Even in this obituary, I learned of her Luxemburg heritage, which is the same as my husband's and son's. Wow, she had a way of making the world seem a little smaller and a little friendlier. She will be missed. I can't even imagine LSA next month without her and Dennis together. Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to know her and let her be with us if only for a little while. God bless and comfort Carol's family and friends. Prayers and blessings.
Rebecca Roeder
Dec 06, 2019
Dennis, You and Carol have been such an integral part of my life over the past 20 years. Carol was always so involved in everything you were doing with your students and the field of sociolinguistics. Whether it was a gathering at a local restaurant during graduate school, an international conference, or a meeting at your house to discuss class preparation, Carol was there with a kind smile, an open heart, and a supporting word. So many lovely memories. It’s impossible to imagine you without her. I hope you are ok, and I know she will love in your heart forever. My heart is with you and all the family. I’m including a photo of Carol from SECOL in Boca Raton, FL, from May of this year.