Maria E. Drake, 76
March 30, 1946- May 13, 2022
Born in Albany, NY, Maria was affectionately known as Mom, grandma, Aunt Ria, Ms. Drake, or Momma Drake. She was one of the first African America students to graduate from Cardinal McCluskey High School in 1965. She would go on to attend State University of New York at Albany where she would earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts.
After college, Maria worked for many NYS agencies, including Health, Labor, Division for Youth, and Transportation, where she would ultimately retire from in 2010. Maria was known to be involved with many local and state organizations, including Project LIFT, the Albany Boys/Girls club, The Black and Hispanic Caucus, The Peter G. Young Foundation, and many others focusing on empowering African Americans and providing children with education.
She was a huge classic movie fan. An avid gardener, for years you could always find her tending to one of her many community gardens, often with Kareem and Stevie in the vicinity. She liked to travel, having visited many places and countries. She was a true force to be reckoned with and was well educated in and knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects including history, politics and social services. She was always the person to go to for guidance and direction and could always put a person in contact with someone, somewhere. Her laughter, energy and spirit will truly be missed by all that knew, and spent time, with her.
She is predeceased by her father Albert B. Drake, her mother Marion (Cheeks), her son Stephen, Sr., and her god mother Vernell Allen. She is survived by her sons James T. Beverly and Albert B. Beverly; her grandchildren Shonyė Elliott-Beverly, Ashonta Scott, Kareem Beverly, Brianna Xiomara Beverly, Lena Beverly, Tyler Bredice-Beverly, Stephen (Stevie) Drake, and Monet Drake, 15 great-grandchildren; her lifelong sister friends Helen Townsend, Ahimsa (Nona) Teabout and Patricia Divine, Beverly Watkins, Lillian Tillman and Gail Jones; as well as her sister-in-laws, and a myriad of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and a huge assortment of friends, former coworkers and former colleagues.