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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