Robert "Bob" Preston of Hampton who served in the New Hampshire state Senate for nearly 20 years passed away Monday at the age of 92.

No cause of death was disclosed in his obituary which said he was surrounded by family members at the time of his death.

The Democrat led efforts in 2020 to reopen Ocean Boulevard to traffic after it was closed off during the pandemic in an effort to limit foot traffic, according to a report by WMUR. He said the barriers blocked traffic to the south end of the beach and cut off owners from their property.

Preston was first elected to the state Senate in 1964 and served for 18 consecutive years from 1972-1990 and was the leader of the Senate. He also ran for governor in 1990 and Congress in 1992, according to NH Democratic Party chair Raymond Buckley

Preston was also a member of the Pease Redevelopment Authority that helped transform the air force base when it was closed.

"We recently lost a great Hampton icon"

He was married to wife Charlotte for 63 years until her death in 2016 and together owned Preston Fine Foods & Preston Real Estate. They had five children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"We recently lost a great Hampton icon," the Hampton Chamber of Commerce wrote on their Facebook page. "He was a previous Board of Directors Chairperson and a chamber member for years."

Gov. Chris Sununu in a statement said he was saddened by Preston's passing.

“Bob lived a lifetime of service to his country, joining the US Army at the young age of 17 and serving overseas in both Italy and Germany. That commitment to service continued for decades through his work as a state senator and support of New Hampshire charities. Bob was always the gentleman and his word was his bond. Our condolences are with his family," the governor said.

“Bob Preston leaves behind an indelible mark on the Granite State through his nearly 20 years in the New Hampshire State Senate. He was a tireless champion for Hampton and a devoted member of the Seacoast community. His lifelong service continues to be felt Granite Staters. He will be deeply missed,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

"I’m saddened by the passing of former Sen Bob Preston. I’m incredibly grateful for his service to New Hampshire, his mentorship, and his friendship," Sen. Maggie Hassan said. "My thoughts are with his family — who have and will continue to carry on his legacy of service to their community.

Buckley called Preston a "truly great guy who loved his family, Hampton and politics," in a tweet.

"With the passing of Bob Preston, NH has lost a former Senate Democratic leader, a leader in the real estate industry, and a high-quality human being. Bob was a good friend and a great supporter," state Sen. Lou Dallesandro said in a tweet.

I had the absolute pleasure of serving on the Pease Development Authority board with longtime Hampton businessman and Fmr. State Senator, Bob Preston," Kevin Smith wrote in a tweet. "Always a gentleman and served those on the seacoast with class and dignity. My thoughts are with the Preston family."

Preston will be laid to rest on Friday at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church located at 289 Lafayette Road in Hampton at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Experience Hampton Inc., PO Box 1601, Hampton, NH 03843-1601, the Hampton Beach Village District for playground improvements, PO Box 1472, Hampton, NH 03843-1472 or Hampton Historical Society, 40 Park Ave, Hampton, NH 03842.

A celebration of Preston's life will take place in spring.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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