SCARBOROUGH — Ashley Elizabeth Drew, 26, of Scarborough, died peacefully and surrounded by family on July 25.
She was born Aug. 7, 1986, in Portland, to Tom and Joy Drew.
She was a graduate of Scarborough High School and the University of Maine, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in music education with a jazz minor. She went on to begin working on a graduate degree in instrumental conducting.
Drew was diagnosed at an early age with cystic fibrosis, but she never let it hold her back. With dedicated physical therapy and medication, she grew up healthy and played many different sports. In high school she participated in track, cross country and volleyball.
She grew up in a family heavily influenced by music. Although proficient in over a dozen instruments, her primary instruments were flute, piccolo and tenor saxophone. She had recently taught herself to play the guitar. Through both middle and high school, she spent many enjoyable summers at Maine Summer Youth Music Camp at the Univeristy of Maine. During high school she was in both the symphonic and jazz bands, where she served as band president, and participated in chorus.
Drew was the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Band Award, the Maine State Jazz Festival Outstanding Woodwind Award and the Berklee Jazz Festival Award. At the University of Maine she performed in the symphonic band, jazz ensemble, numerous jazz combos and the Screamin’ Black Bear Pep Band, where many of her musical arrangements are still played today. She was band tour director her senior year. After receiving her degree, she taught as a long-term music substitute teacher in the Glenburn School System.
Drew was very active in her church and community. She was in the young adult group at EastPoint Christian Church and had a special place in her heart for the homeless individuals of Portland. She spent many weekends serving them coffee and donuts, praying with them or just quietly listening to them. She was there to encourage and help them in any way she could. She also was a sought-after spokesperson for the New England Organ Bank, produced several educational videos for the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, and was featured in a White House video on the Affordable Care Act.
In January 2010, Drew’s medical condition took a turn for the worse and she needed a life-saving double lung transplant. The transplant on June 8, 2012, was initially successful. Unfortunately, a serious fungal infection led to a series of medical complications that eventually took her life.
Drew loved her family, friends, music, sports, and most of all, Jesus. Her life was never defined by cystic fibrosis, but by God.
She is survived by her parents, Tom and Joy Drew; her brother Justin and his wife Amy; maternal grandmother Doris Dearing; paternal grandparents Pauline and Perry Drew; five uncles, four aunts and ten cousins. She was predeceased by her maternal grandfather, David Dearing.
A celebration of life was scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church, 360 Canco Road, Portland.
If desired, contributions may be made to Air for Ashley, care of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc., 360 U.S. Route 1, Suite 300, Scarborough, ME 04074.