Marilyn Rowe “Sandy” Drinker, 89, of Chestnut Hill, a retired school librarian and a longtime community volunteer, died Dec. 29 of a cerebral hematoma at Keystone Hospice in Wyndmoor.
Mrs. Drinker retired in 1981 after serving for 14 years as a librarian at Germantown Academy.
She was best known in the Chestnut Hill community, however, for her volunteer service to many Chestnut Hill organizations, including Monkey Business, Meals on Wheels, Woodmere Art Museum, what was then the Chestnut Hill Senior Center, Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society and the Chestnut Hill Community Association.
In 2008, she received the CHCA’s Chestnut Hill Award for 60 years of service to the community.
She also was instrumental in saving the historic Black Horse Inn in Flourtown from the developer’s wrecking ball. At the age of 80, and with a broken foot, she attended every Springfield Township Commissioners meeting for eight months to speak on behalf of the inn. For her efforts she received a special award from the Friends of the Black Horse Inn.
Born in San Francisco and raised in San Antonio, Tex., Mrs. Drinker graduated from the University of Texas in 1945. The following year she met her future husband, the late Dr. Henry M. Drinker, at a dance at Fort Sam Houston, where Drinker was an Army medical officer. After raising three three sons in Flourtown, the couple moved to Chestnut Hill in 1974.
Dr. Drinker, who maintained a pediatrics practice in Chestnut Hill for more than four decades, died in 1999.
In retirement, Mrs. Drinker and her husband spent two months living in a trailer on an Indian reservation in Arizona, providing health care to Native Americans who lived there. Later they spent a month in St. Lucia in the Caribbean working at a local health center.
An avid tennis player, Mrs. Drinker was a past member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, where she served as club historian for many years. She also was a past president of the Chestnut Hill Garden Club.
She is survived by sons Sandwith, John and Ned; eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Mrs. Drinker’s life will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at St. Thomas Church, Whitemarsh, 7020 Camp Hill Road, Fort Washington.
Memorial donations may be made to Keystone Hospice, 8765 Stenton Ave., Wyndmoor, PA 19038, or to the Springfield Township Historical Society, Black Horse Inn Fund, P.O. Box 564, Flourtown, PA 19031. – WF
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