Drayton Grant, an early and dedicated protector of the environment and practitioner of environmental law for more than 30 years, died October 31, 2012 after a fierce battle with lung cancer. Drayton was born June 11, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first child of Dr. Joseph L. and Mary Drayton Grant. As a very young child she accompanied her parents to postwar Germany and occupied Vienna. Drayton grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire and Norwich, Vermont. She is a graduate of the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut, Smith College, and Brooklyn Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review. Drayton started her career as a lawyer in 1975 at the New York City law firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine. After Donovan Leisure, she served as an attorney with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and from 1983 until 1987 she served as a Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation with responsibility for New York State wide land use and conservation programs. From 1988 until recently she practiced environmental and land use law throughout the Hudson Valley from her offices in Rhinebeck, New York with the firm of Grant & Lyons LLP.
John Lyons, who has been Drayton’s friend for 20 years and her law partner at Grant & Lyons, the firm she co-founded, said: “Drayton was an extraordinary person and in the course of her life was an inspiration to many. Her tremendous capacity to love her fellow men and women, her rock solid integrity and character, her easy sense of humor and boundless joie de vivre, her intelligence and indomitable spirit were known by all. Her positive impact on those she knew and loved and on her community will be a lasting testament to her spirit and her life. She left her friends, her community and our world so much better than she found them.”
Drayton had a long professional and personal interest in the environment and was a recognized expert in environmental and land use matters. Among her many interests, Drayton served on the Boards of Dutchess County institutions Hudson River Heritage, Winnakee Land Trust, Hudsonia, the Sloop Clearwater and Northern Dutchess Hospital. She was also a long time and devoted member of Rotary. She also served on the Board of the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut in the mid 1980s and as a trustee of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York for many years. She was a principal mover in the creation of Burger Hill Park in Rhinebeck, New York, a 76 acre privately owned park.
Drayton loved to ski and was an avid golfer and great proponent of teeing off forward of fairway hazards. Drayton was also a member of the Northeast Harbor Golf Club and the Edgewood Club of Tivoli, and a long time Patron of the Metropolitan Opera.
Drayton was a direct descendent of Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and John Drayton, a president of the Insurance Company of North America. She was also a direct descendent of the pioneer neurosurgeon, Francis Grant, and a founder of the international law firm, Morgan Lewis and Bockius, Francis Draper Lewis.
Drayton made her home in Rhinebeck, New York for more than 29 years and summered all her life in Seal Cove, Maine. Drayton is survived by her husband of 30 years, Wayne Baden, her 2 sons, Samuel Grant Baden and Nathaniel Rush Baden, her sisters Barbara Grant of Shelburne, VT and Priscilla Grant of Cleveland, Ohio, and her brother Charles Grant, of Tacoma, Wa., and her mother, Mary Drayton Grant of Shelburne, VT.
Calling hours are Friday, 4 to 8 PM, at the Dapson-Chestney Funeral Home (dapsonchestney.com), 51 W. Market St., Rhinebeck . Funeral services will be held Saturday, 2 PM, at the Church of the Messiah, 6436 Montgomery St. Rhinebeck, NY.
Drayton asks that in lieu of flowers or other memorials, donations be made to the Winnakee Land Trust, P.O. Box 610, Rhinebeck, NY 12572.