Susan Bayley Drais
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Susan Bayley Drais

"My daddy taught me to sail when I was little, and I loved sailing and water for the rest of my life." Before she passed away on August 5, 2017, Sue Bayley Drais asked us to start her obituary with those words.

The sailing bug bit her as a girl in Springfield, Ohio and became incurable after 8 summers as a camper and sailing instructor on Lake Michigan.

At Northwestern she was swept off her feet by the warmth and wit of James "Buzz" Drais; they soon married and started a family. For four decades she was a busy wife and mom and an active volunteer, especially with her beloved PEO as well as with churches, schools, garden clubs, and as a founding board member of the Topeka Friends of the Zoo. And she made time to sail!

In 1990, Sue lost her beloved husband to leukemia. She left Atlanta for the Pacific Northwest and its ubiquitous water. At a waterside home on Meydenbauer Bay, she hosted many gracious parties, fundraisers, and family gatherings and fell in love with her new community of friends.

Sue never tired of learning. A friend remarked that every time she saw Sue, "she was either learning about something or, sharing with me something she had just learned!" Sue attended Shakespeare, ballet and symphonies; she loved MOHAI and SAM; she went on field trips with Historic Seattle (a walking tour of Chicago when she was 81!); she took two African safaris; and she took small-boat cruises with naturalists up the Columbia and to Alaska. And she read voraciously.

Two years ago her children convinced her to indulge her decades-old desire and sail the Mediterranean on the Sea Cloud, a yacht from the 20s. It filled her with deep, lasting joy.

Friends will remember Sue's generosity, enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity and love of visiting family and friends. They will remember how she loved to make people feel welcome. Sparkly, feisty, kind, tenacious, prone to laughing and talking and always happy to enjoy a glass of wine, Sue Drais will be missed.

She leaves behind sons Jamie, Peter (Marie) and Dan (Jane Mills), and four adored grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place in September. In lieu of flowers, Sue would appreciate gifts to the Center for Wooden Boats, the Seattle Shakespeare Company, or Historic Seattle.

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Published in The Seattle Times from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Family
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9 entries
August 18, 2017
We all miss her so much. :( Prayers to her family! We love you Sue!
August 17, 2017
Sue at age 9
August 16, 2017
I really enjoyed talking to Sue. She was full of fun and had great stories. We talked a lot about Topeka, Kansas. I grew up there and lived across the street from the Topeka Zoo. We all will miss her so much.
Linda Henry
August 14, 2017
Sue lived a full life and enjoyed it to the hilt. May we all be so lucky as to live as long, love as hard and laugh as much as she did.
August 14, 2017
Summer 2016, returning from Blake Island, enjoying a glass of wine
Dan Drais
August 14, 2017
Summer 2016, at the wheel
Dan Drais
August 14, 2017
August 12, 2017
I am sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort be with the family during this difficult time.
August 11, 2017
Sorry to hear of Sue's passing, sincere condolences to her family. Jeremiah 29:11 assures us God is thinking thoughts of peace towards us, to give us a future and a hope, may He support you at this difficult time.
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