IRVINGTON—Sibyl Drake Bayne died on January 28 at the age of 99, after living a full and rich life traveling the world with her husband of 63 years, Vice Admiral Marmaduke Gresham Bayne, and painting every step of the way.
Sibyl was the daughter of Carol Fish Drake and Charles Brittain Drake of Norfolk, and a graduate of the Graham School for Girls in Norfolk. She also attended Old Dominion University, American University, The Corcoran School of Art, and studied with Robert Brachman and Charles Reid while pursuing her lifelong love of painting.
As an artist, Sibyl enjoyed expressing her talents in all media, and her pastel portraits, oil paintings and watercolors grace homes and galleries all over the world.
As a Navy wife, Sibyl became adept at packing up and moving every year or two while raising her two children and the dog of the moment, and always finding time to paint.
In addition to painting, Sibyl was a fabulous cook and generously shared her culinary talents with new friends she met in every port. She became renowned as a hostess and delighted in bringing together her new and old friends from each new post. When her husband, Duke, commanded all of the submarines in the Mediterranean, headquartered in Naples, Italy, Sibyl helped him build a strong bond between the Italians, the British and the American forces there. She also orchestrated a fairy tale wedding at their villa in Naples for their daughter.
Sibyl and Duke continued to be a dynamic duo wherever they went. When Duke was the commander of the U.S. Middle East Force in Bahrain, the couple traveled all over the area forging major diplomatic relations. When they returned to Washington, D.C., for Duke to head up the National War College and later to establish the National Defense University, Sibyl again delighted in building relationships among military wives and congressional wives while still finding time to paint and to exhibit her work—often at the Torpedo Factory Gallery in Alexandria.
When Duke’s medical condition caused his retirement, the couple moved to their weekend home on Carter Creek in Irvington. There Sibyl opened her own gallery, The Old Post Office Gallery, and was instrumental in helping to establish the Rappahannock Art League. She was also on the planning committee for the Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community, where she has been a resident since its opening and where some of her paintings still hang.
Sibyl’s husband died in 2005.
She is survived by her brother, Louis Carroll Drake of Virginia Beach; a daughter, Carol Price, and her husband, Ted, of Richmond and Vero Beach, Fla.; and a son, Dr. C. Gresham Bayne and his wife, Deirdre, of San Diego, Calif. Many of Sibyl’s six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren carry on her love of drawing and painting and will always remember her as they enjoy her paintings in their own homes.
A private burial is planned for the summer.
Memorial contributions may be made to RWC, 132 Lancaster Drive, Irvington, VA 22480; or to The Rappahannock Art League, 19 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.