A beautiful addition to the Y in memory of Mary Preston


It wasn’t planned, but it seemed like more than coincidence that the Kent County YMCA, with the help of a generous donation of trees and shrubs, was scheduled to make improvements to the Mary Kathryn Preston memorial garden Monday morning.

Mary Preston was a program director at the Y who lost her life in a drowning accident at the Y in 1996. On Monday the Providence Journal carried the obituary of her mother, Mary Boyd Preston, who died Nov. 3.

“The Preston family is very near and dear to the Y,” said Julie Casimiro, recently named director of the Kent County YMCA. While she found it difficult to articulate, Casimiro found the timing of the garden renovations and the passing of Mrs. Preston to be a “good connection.” While she never met Mrs. Preston, Casimiro knew of her love for the Y.

In all, more than 50 shrubs and trees with a retail value of $1,500 were delivered to the Y Monday by Laura LaBossiere and Christopher Bourque. LaBossiere swims at the Kent Y and, when Casimiro learned of her self-chosen activity of buying plants and donating them to organizations that could use them, Casimiro was delighted to be a part of it.

LaBossiere, who describes herself as a “horse dealer,” launched her campaign about two years ago when she questioned what would become of plants offered by some of the area’s larger retailer when they didn’t sell. She found plenty of trees and shrubs that looked beyond their prime and she suspected would end up in the dumpster.

So LaBossiere offered a pittance to take the plants and, not surprisingly, many retailers went along. LaBossiere said she is especially grateful to Lowe’s, which has enabled her to carry out her mission to save plants while beautifying places like the YMCA.

The Preston garden was one of several locations that are benefiting from LaBossiere and Bourque’s work. Bourque said he is there to carry the trees and dig the holes to plant them.

The Mary Preston Garden will be enhanced with flowering spirea and several dogwood trees. Other trees donated to the Y include maples and red buds.

The Y’s director of facilities, Ian McDermott, was in his element planning where best to plant the trees and shrubs. Mary Preston’s Memorial Garden was given his special attention.

It was also a solemn occasion, as those gather learned of her mother’s death.

Mrs. Preston was born in Pawtucket. She is survived by her son, David Preston and his wife Jennifer of East Greenwich and her daughter Elizabeth A. Brosnan and her husband Brian of Attleboro, Mass.

The funeral is being held today at 9 a.m. from the Manning-Heffern Funeral Home in Pawtucket. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Teresa’s Church in Pawtucket.


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