Pastor James N. Preston, born in Pittsburgh, PA., was raised and received his formal education in Rochester, New York. Prior to making the decision to become a Funeral Director/Embalmer and graduation from Simmons College of Mortuary Science in Syracuse, New York, he attended Howard University and St. John Fisher College. Pastor Preston has been actively involved in providing funeral services since 1969 and currently co-owns and operates Preston Funeral Home in Phoenix with his wife, First Lady Irene Preston.
Rev. Preston moved to Phoenix in 1982, and later accepted his calling to spread the gospel. On January 6, 1997, Pastor Preston was called as pastor of Bethesda Community Baptist Church and was officially installed on March 23, 1997.
In addition to serving the pastoral ministry for over 30 years, he has conducted through his bereavement ministry, grief support groups for over 26 years. Pastor Preston serves on several boards in the community and is an advocate for those who are disenfranchised by society. In 2004 he received the NAACP Image Award for Religious and Business Leadership in the community. He is the only NAACP dual award recipient for the Arizona Chapter. Recently he received the African American Legislator Unsung Hero’s Award, and was elected National Chaplin and National President of Epsilon Nu-Delta Mortuary Fraternity Inc.
Pastor Preston has a great love for God’s word and His people. You will find him Sunday after Sunday proclaiming the word of God and on Wednesday evenings you will find him doing one of his favorite things, teaching bible study class. Pastor Preston is an articulate and passionate preacher and teacher. Anytime he is called upon to share the word of God, regardless of circumstance or season, Pastor Preston gives of himself and remains faithful to God’s calling. His love and concern for people keeps him in demand as a speaker, teacher and counselor.
Lady Irene is the love of Pastor Preston’s life and the epitome of a partner in all aspects of his ministry and business. Together the Preston’s have one son Devin, one daughter Jennifer, one grandson, five granddaughter’s, and one great grandson. Pastor Preston has reaffirmed over and over again that “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”
First Lady Irene L. Preston was born, raised, and received her primary education in Rochester, New York. She moved to the valley in 1984, but is proud to be called a native New Yorker. She is the proud mother of one son, one daughter, four beautiful granddaughters, one grandson and one great grandson.
Lady P, as she is affectionately known, is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer as well as First Lady of Bethesda Community Baptist Church here in Phoenix. She currently holds three degrees: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene; Associate of Science in Mortuary Science and Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
Lady Preston is proud to hold membership in Epsilon Nu Delta Fraternity Inc., 100 Black Women in Funeral Service, National Council of Negro Women, Professional Association of Business Women, where received the Women of Excellence Award. Maricopa chapter of Eastern Star. She is also a strong advocate for the POMC (Parents of Murdered Children).
First Lady Irene, together with her husband, Pastor James N. Preston, own and operate their two family businesses, Preston Funeral Home and Blooms Flower and Gift Shop. Lady Irene truly enjoys co-laboring in the ministry alongside Rev. Preston for 30 years, helping wherever needed; ministering to the grieving. She also facilitates grief workshops wherever needed.
Lady P is no stranger to the demands of life. She graciously accepts the roles of ministering wife, mother, grandmother, business owner, and friend. She says her greatest calling and joy is taking care of the man of God. This women of God who truly understands the meaning of scripture, Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given much is required.”