Michael G. Drewett of Sherrill passed away Feb. 8 at the age of 60. He left behind family and friends who universally remembered as one of the kindest and most positive people to be found anywhere.
Drewett served the City of Pine Bluff in the Parks and Recreation Department for a total of 17 years — nine as athletic director and another eight as director.
Most recently Drewett served as director of parks and recreation in Stuttgart.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Pat Monk Drewett; and two sons, Michael Lee Drewett and Jon Derik Drewett; as well as his two grandchildren, mother, father and stepmother.
Pat Drewett first met her future husband when they were both teenagers.
“I loved him from the time I was 15 years old on,” Drewett said of her childhood sweetheart. “We were married for 36 years but we’ve known each other for 44 years.
“He was the most wonderful man and as close as humanly possible to being the perfect husband. He always answered me with a smile. “
The loss, of course, remains fresh.
“I promise you my heart is gone because he was the other half of my heart,” Pat Drewett said with deep sadness in her voice. “When you look at a glass of water he was the half full one and I was often the half empty one. He was always the calm and positive one and he would help me to see the positive side of things.”
Pat Drewett recounted the impact her husband had on Pine Bluff Regional Park during his tenure as Parks and Rec director.
“I wish you could see the list of accomplishments he made,” Drewett said. “He would never toot his own horn but without him Harbor Oaks wouldn’t be out there; the access road wouldn’t be raised; there would be no RV park. He did the softball complex. He worked to make sure Pine Bluff was able to attract visitors.”
Pat Drewett said the few disagreements she ever had with her husband were always settled by talking them out.
A bond of respect
Richard Metcalf has known Drewett for 37 years and considers him as close as any blood relative.
“Mike Drewett was probably the finest person I’ve ever known in my entire life,” Metcalf said of his friend. “I’m closer to him than I am to some of my own family. We’ve been best friends for 37 years. He was one of the most giving people I have ever known.”
Metcalf acknowledges a great loss to the community at large with Drewett’s passing.
“If we could all pattern our lives in some way after Mike we would be a lot better off,” Metcalf said. “The world is worse off today without him. If I had 10 percent of his personality I would be the second-most admired person in town and I wouldn’t even come close to Mike. He would give you the shirt off his back and make you feel good about it if he thought that he could help you out.”
Metcalf said he has received condolence calls from people who told him that they consider him one of the luckiest people around to have been friends with Drewett for so many years.
“I really am one of the luckiest guys in the world to have had him as a close friend for the past 37 years,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf said that the two shared a mutual affinity for hunting and fishing, much of it conducted on land that Metcalf owns near Regional Park.
“We actually met the first time when I was standing on a piece of land down by the river in Slackwater Harbor with my wife and Mike came by in a boat,” Metcalf said. “We started talking and he invited me to go fishing with him and we did. The funny thing is the place where we met is now part of the property that I bought and use to hunt and fish on.”
Metcalf said the two men had many good times on that land.
“The only time he ever yelled at me was when we had just launched a boat to go fishing,” Metcalf said. “The motor got stuck on something and I hit the throttle and he started yelling at me to slow down. The thing was, I had fallen out and Mike was by himself and by the time he realized it, it was too late and he ended up hitting a tree. He was OK but we laughed about it later.
“If I can impress on you just one thing — and I am not exaggerating — he is one of the finest men on this earth,” Metcalf said.
Jim Monk remembers the good times he had in the outdoors with Drewett.
“Mike and I fished and hunted a good bit with each other,” said Monk, who was Drewett’s brother-in-law. “He was a real outdoor person. He always had a smile on his face. Even in terrible weather sitting on a deer stand he would still be smiling.”
Colleagues and friends
Travis Creed worked with Drewett on both the King Cotton Classic, the high school basketball tournament that was held annually at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, and the Big Bass Bonanza.
“I was on the Parks and Recreation Commission that first hired Mike,” Creed said. “He was a wonderful parks director for a number of years. I never knew anyone who didn’t know him or have the highest respect for him. If he told you he was going to do something he did it.
“He was a very dear friend and he will be sorely missed by a world of people,” Creed said.
Current Pine Bluff Department of Parks and Recreation director Angela Parker worked with Drewett throughout his 17 years with the department.
“We worked together for so long,” Parker said. “It wasn’t like he was my boss. He was a great person and a great family man. He taught me how to cook gumbo and blacken fish. We really had a good time working together.”
Parker said the news of Drewett’s passing came as a shock.
“He had just stopped by the office a couple of weeks ago,” Parker said. “The secretary still had something on her desk that he was going to come by to pick up.”
Jerry Taylor was Pine Bluff’s mayor during part of Drewett’s time working with the city.
“Mike was a fine, fine fellow,” Taylor said. “He was just a gentleman. Mike didn’t like any controversy and liked everything to go smooth.”
Taylor recounted an example of Drewett’s calm demeanor.
“While I was mayor there were four of us including Mike that took a small plane up to Jonesboro for an event,” Taylor said. “Mike sat in the front seat next to the pilot. On the way back to Pine Bluff it was storming around us and I was getting a little nervous. I looked up front and there was Mike taking a nap and as calm as can be. He wasn’t fazed by the storm.”
Jeff Hawkins served as Pine Bluff city planner during Drewett’s time as director of the Parks and Recreation Department.
“I knew Mike both professionally and personally,” Hawkins said. “I first met Mike in the late 1970s. Over the years we played softball and basketball together, on the same as well as opposing teams. He and I duck hunted.
“He’s probably the only person I’ve known who always seemed to be in a good, pleasant frame of mind,” Hawkins said. “He was one of the most personable people I’ve ever met. He was never critical and always respectful. He was an all-around nice guy. It’s just a big loss.”