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Preston T. Hebron Jr., retired Anne Arundel County Public Schools principal, dies

Preston T. Hebron Jr. was a lifelong member of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover.
Preston T. Hebron Jr. was a lifelong member of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover.

Preston T. Hebron Jr., a retired Anne Arundel County Public Schools principal, died Jan. 26 at Brooke Grove Nursing and Rehab Center in Sandy Spring. He was 77.

Family members said a medical cause of death was not available.

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Born in Dorsey, he was the son of Alice “Lorraine” Hamilton Hebron, a substitute teacher and homemaker, and Preston T. Hebron Sr., who worked for J.H. Toomey and Sons in coal and oil delivery.

His daughter, Franchesca Grace, said Dr. Hebron was raised in a loving family.

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“His intellect made him the center of attention throughout every season of his life,” she said. “He was a grassroots community activist. ... He was such a gregarious and outgoing person. When he walked in a room, his infectious smile radiated positive energy.”

He attended Harmon Elementary School and was a 1960 graduate of Wiley H. Bates High School in Annapolis.

As a young man he played sandlot baseball as an outfielder.

He attended what is now Bowie State University and went on to what is now Delaware State University, from which he earned an elementary education degree. He played center field on the school’s baseball team and belonged to the Groove Phi Groove social fellowship organization.

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Dr. Hebron later received a master’s degree from Bowie State and a doctorate from Anova University.

He was also known as “Rabbit” and “Rab.”

He started teaching fourth grade and fifth grade students at Jones Elementary School in Severna Park in 1967. He later taught at Tyler Heights Elementary School in Annapolis.

“My brother had a big personality,” said his brother, Anthony Hebron of Ellicott City. “He was well-loved and respected. He was the type who got along with everyone he met.”

During his career he served as principal of Jessup, Parole and Jones elementary schools. He was assistant principal at Central, Van Bokkelen, Point Pleasant and Tyler Heights elementary schools. He was also an administrative intern at Brooklyn Park and Arnold elementary schools.

A 1993 Sun article quoted Dr. Hebron when an anticipated renovation project was delayed at Jessup Elementary.

“Let’s move forward from here,” he said. “We have to take our frustration and turn it into something positive. It’s just another obstacle to overcome. Hopefully it will strengthen us.”

His daughter said, “His personality was infectious and his spirit was genuine. He was willing to help anyone.”

He received an appreciation award from Phi Delta Kappa in 1997. He was the 1994 recipient of the African American History Bee Minority Affairs Award. He also received the Mills-King Award Exhibiting Excellence in Human Relations in Education in 1994.

“His drive for education came about while being reared in a loving and tight-knit home where excellence was instilled,” said another daughter, Karla Hebron of Ellicott City. “He had an outgoing personality, which contributed to him being the center of attention. He proved to be very well-rounded, even at an early age. He was also good at freehand sketching.”

Dr. Hebron was a member of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of the NAACP.

He chaired banquets and prayer breakfasts. He was associated with Free Spirit Fashions, FSF Charm Academy and the Corvette Club of Anne Arundel County.

He was a lifelong member of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover. He chaired its administrative board, the pastor/parish relations committee, and the committee on race and religion. He was given the congregation’s Lairy Award in 1994.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Howell Funeral Home in Jessup. Virtual services will be available.

In addition to his daughters and brother, survivors include a son, Eric M. Hebron of Woodbine; one other daughter, Tonja “Toni” Hebron of Upper Marlboro; two other brothers, Frederick Hebron of Jessup and Harold Hebron of Burtonsville; a sister, Patricia Handy of Hanover; and five grandchildren. His wife of many years, Vonda Demby, a cosmetologist, died in 2016. A daughter, Tawanna Brown, died in 2002.

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