Pleasantine “Pleasie” Cushman Drake Rowley, founding member of the League of Women Voters

Pleasantine “Pleasie” Cushman Drake Rowley passed away June 15, 2017.

A devoted mother, daughter, sister, and wife, a respected, valued and hard working community volunteer, a proud graduate of Mount Holyoke College (1943), Pleasie readily made friends wherever she went. Nothing was more important to her than her family, her friends and helping others.

Born in NYC, NY, in 1921, Pleasie died in Ann Arbor, MI just before her 96th birthday.  She will be greatly mourned and missed by her five children: John H. Drake of Chicago, IL; Robert Grant Drake, Jr., (Berit Drake) of Ann Arbor, MI; Pleasantine Drake of Ottawa, ON, Canada; Penelope Drake Pestronk (Robert Pestronk) of Chevy Chase, MD; Patience Drake-Rosenbaum (Frank Rosenbaum) of Haslett, MI.  She also is survived by eleven grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, a brother, two sisters-in-law, many cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as her many friends. She was proud of her extensive family and her rich family history, which included being a descendent of the Mayflower.  She was predeceased by her parents, her sister, her two husbands (Robert Grant Drake, who died in 1984, and J. Robert Rowley, whom she married in 1994 and died in 2007).  Special thanks go to her daughter-in-law, Berit Bjordal Drake, who took such loving care of her in the final days.

After moving many times in the first ten years of her marriage, Ridgefield became a special home to her. She raised her family here from 1952-71.  All five of her children went through the public schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School.  She credits the excellent schools in Ridgefield with her children’s achievements. During that time Pleasie was very active as a volunteer in the schools, in the Boy & Girl Scouts, as a Sunday School teacher, as a member of the Congregational Church, as a founding member of the League of Women Voters in Ridgefield, the Garden Club, and the American Field Service program.  Together with Mr. Martin, Sr., she established the tradition of Fourth of July fireworks in Ridgefield. Pleasie had such fond memories of raising her children in Ridgefield and her many friends there.

In 1971, she and her husband moved to Franklin, LA, to help her parents who were not well.  She quickly established herself with a large circle of friends and once again became active in the community, volunteering at the Franklin Nursing Home, as a literacy tutor and as a docent at the Grevemberg House.  She was a member of the Fortnightly Club, the St. Mary’s Chapter of the LA Landmarks Society, and the St. Mary’s Parish Tourism board.  She was also a Ruling Elder of the Grace Presbyterian Church.  In 1994, ten years after her first husband died, she remarried and moved to Michigan to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

Her ashes will be interred in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield, next to her first husband, Robert Grant Drake.  A memorial service will be held at the Congregational Church on October 7, 2017 at 11:30.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Alzheimer’s Society or the League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund