Sarah Drenan

Obituary of Sarah Drenan

Dr. Sarah Maxwell Drenan, 69, of Reston, VA, passed away on 27 January 2018 following a swift and complicated medical condition. She felt no pain as she departed this world surrounded by her loving family.

Sarah was born in Hendersonville, NC, and graduated from West Henderson High School. She moved to Greenville, NC to earn two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and History, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from East Carolina University. Inspired by education, she further obtained two Doctoral degrees in Social and Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completing her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Virginia Medical School.   

Sarah dedicated her life to teaching and helping others. She began teaching psychology in 1976 and continued throughout her career as a clinical psychologist, including professorships at Mary Baldwin College and a full-time teaching adventure with University of Maryland University College, European Division.  During her year abroad in 2005, Sarah taught U.S. military personnel stationed in Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Sarah’s lifelong dedication to learning led her to study at The Ridhwan School beginning in 1993. She was ordained as a spiritual teacher in 2015.  She continued to both learn and teach at Ridhwan until her death.

Prior to teaching in Europe, Sarah held a clinical psychology practice in Charlottesville, VA for 17 years.  Upon her return from Europe, Sarah spent a year working at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, in Portsmouth, VA.  She then worked at the Veteran Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Morehead City, NC until 2011, when she moved back to Washington, DC to rejoin her family and began work with the Federal Government. As a Federal employee, her instruction and professional instincts helped scores of people on multiple continents throughout the world.

Sarah was a loving and adventurous person that was a bright light to everyone that knew her.  Her warmth, wisdom and relentless positivity touched people, as did her radiant soul and kindness.  Sarah was happiest when she was with her family; basking in the tremendous love, joy and support they shared.

Sarah was preceded in death by her parents, Janette and Raleigh Maxwell, and her beloved sister Mary.  Sarah is survived by her husband of 40 years, Peter; her daughter Sherry Martin and husband John; her son Joshua Drenan; and her daughter Julia Fazio and husband Michael.  In addition to their personal memories, her family loves seeing their beloved Sarah through the eyes and experiences of others. It helps them appreciate even more the expanse of her love and impact on this world.  Please share any photos or stories with the family at

For those who wish to contribute in remembrance of Sarah, please make contributions to the Scholarship Fund of The Ridhwan School – Diamond Approach. Please designate on your contributions “In memory of Sarah Drenan”.

The website is:

The mailing address is:

Friends of Ridhwan

PO Box 10174

Berkeley, CA 94709

For more information visit



We would like to invite everyone to join us in a celebration of Sarah's beautiful life.

We welcome all of Sarah's friends, family, and colleagues that were touched by her, regardless of how recent or frequent, to help us celebrate her life and her impact on our lives. Please join us to simply enjoy the day together in reflection and love.  

Every year, Sarah wanted to be on the water for her birthday present so she could "feel the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair." So please join us in celebrating Sarah's birthday - Sunday, April 8th - on the Cherry Blossom riverboat, moored on the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA.  

The itinerary includes:
11:45am-12pm - Board the Cherry Blossom, docked at 0 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA (near the Chart House Restaurant). 
12 - 12:45pm - A celebration of Sarah’s life will include stories, poems and songs that demonstrate Sarah's love and impacts on our lives together. After the scheduled speakers, there will be an 'open mic' portion for anyone that has a story or poem to share...we welcome everyone to participate. NOTE: The Cherry Blossom will remain docked throughout this portion of the ceremony.  
12:45am-1pm - Allow time to disembark.
1 - 3pm - Enjoy a slow, easy riverboat cruise. Light refreshments will be provided.

With Love,

The Drenans


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