Edith Lillian (Drake) Bennett


Edith Lillian Bennett, or Edie as she was better known, died from heart failure at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Her Island family was gathered around her, and had an opportunity to thank her for all she had done for them and tell her how much she was loved. She was 93.

Edie was the third of nine Drake children born in Taunton to Lemuel Drake and Edith Nickerson Drake. She moved with the Drake family to Chappaquiddick Island during the 1930s, eventually making the move over to the main Island, to Cottage Street in Edgartown, where she lived for most of the rest of her life.

She was a child of the Depression, which impacted her and her family significantly. She remembered having to share shoes with her sisters, and throughout the rest of her life would always buy her children and grandchildren shoes if there was even the slightest indication that their shoes weren’t just right. She escaped into the love of the performing arts during her childhood, and that love continued throughout the rest of her life. She took great joy in singing and dancing, reciting poetry, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible, a favorite quote being “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

In her early 20s, during WW II, Edie worked as a waitress at the Harborview Hotel; she continued to do so for many years, there and at other locations, to help support her family. She married, then divorced, then married Dudley Bennett, whom she remained married to until his death in 1973. She mothered five boys, who all gave her many challenges, as boys will do. Throughout their childhoods, her sons fondly remember, Edie sang at home every day, preparing for her solo in the choir on Sunday at St. Andrew’s Church. She had a resiliency and a great sense of humor, and always found ways to make the best out of her life situations, a very important lesson to impart to her boys as they grew into men.

Edie had good friends and enjoyed their company immensely. Mostly she enjoyed her family, and was always happiest when they were near. In her later years she would reach out and befriend others and be as supportive and helpful to them as she could be. People loved her company because of her wit and sense of humor, and she knew how to be a friend. Near the end of her life, in the Windemere Nursing Home, she made new friends, and was fully engaged in all the activities, especially the ones that involved music and singing. She said to one of her sons that she had “a new family” at the nursing home, and was as happy as he had seen her in years.

Edie taught her family many things, one of the most important of them being: Know that you are loved, and no matter how difficult things get, by reaching into ourselves and finding that spark that makes us alive and unique, we can get through just about anything.

Her wish was to be remembered for loving her family and putting them first, and for providing for her family financially before herself, so they could have a better life. This she accomplished, as only her family so well knows.

She leaves behind many friends and family, one sibling, Samuel Drake, four of her boys, Thomas, Dudley, Roy, and Jonathan; the oldest, Dexter, having predeceased her; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too many to list but each and every one of them special to her and all dearly loved by Grandma.

There will be a memorial service at 11 am, Saturday, Feb. 7 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown.