Stanley Drescher’s subjects, like his cheer, knew no bounds.
Whether it was Henry Flagler, Ponce de Leon, Alzheimer’s disease, the Flagler Beach water tower or more prosaic subjects like the Flagler Beach City Commission or the chamber of commerce, Drescher could rhyme it, alliterate it, gently poke fun at it or emote it all in poems that, if not epic in the Homeric sense, could stretch to epic lengths.
Drescher performed his poems at the city commission, at schools, at First Friday in his adopted city, at the Inspired Mic, the monthly improv event held for years until the pandemic interrupted. He loved to disseminate them by email or hand delivery, on paper, to friends and acquaintances. He loved writing them, usually at his dining room table at the break of dawn, with his first cup of coffee (“my head is clear,” he’d said). Everyone knew him as Stan, or Grampy to his closer family members.
“He was just that everything, anything environmental,” Jane Mealy, who chairs the Flagler Beach City Commission, said this morning. “He just wanted to do good for the county–the city, but the whole county too. He was involved with the A1A group. He certainly added a lot to this place.”
Drescher had his occasional cause, as when he ran a contest at Old Kings Elementary that led students to paint kissing dolphins on a small water tank next to the city’s fire station. Then, less than two years a resident of Flagler Beach at the beginning of the 2010s, he found it unacceptable that his city’s water tower–“this stubby water tank,” that “seamless monolith,” as he described it–did not bear his city’s name. He campaigned, made his case before the city commission, raised the $5,500 through the chamber of commerce (hence one of his more flattering set of verses on behalf of the chamber), and in October 2010, the paint job was done.
“I saw lagler without the F,” he said in an interview with FlaglerLive at the time, “and I took a picture I was going to have some fun with it—I was really exited—so I figured I’d mail it to my friends and say look, they made a mistake, because everybody’s been following this with me, all my New York friend, and everybody down here, you know, I made a million friends just by going around. In one year I probably know more people than people who’ve lived here 20 years.”
Six months later, the Flagler Beach City Commission honored him by naming him the city’s first Poet Laureate. He was charged, as is the national poet laureate, with raising “the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.” The resolution naming him laureate cited such Drescher poems as “Leave the Tower Alone,” “Where Is Flagler Beach,” and “The Flagler Beach City Commissioners,” works now possibly lost to memory–a sore subject with Drescher, who’d written a long poem about what he called “A D,” Alzheimer’s Disease and the way it ravaged its victims:
Their sartorial splendor
Required help from none
But as of late when they’re through
Their zipper’s left undone
Thursday night, Stanley Drescher died in his sleep in Flagler Beach. He was 88 years old.
“Our hearts are shattered,” his daughter in law, Colleen Conklin–the shool board member–wrote on her Facebook page this morning. “The sweetest, kindest man we love and adore called Grampy has passed. We are simply in shock. Many of you knew him as Stanley, Mr. Drescher or Flagler’s self proclaimed ‘Poet Laureate.’ I LOVED my father-in-law like he was my own. He was funny, intelligent, kind, sensitive, caring man who always saw the best in everyone.” Drescher lived next door to the Conklins, within sight of the water tower.
Drescher was a son of New York’s Lower East Side. He’d owned an insurance agency, was president of a credit union back in Rockland County, N.Y., and had taught his profession as an adjunct professor. When he discovered that too many students were dropping out of courses designed to help them pass the New York State Brokers exam, he spent six months working on a 300-page manual, then taught the five-week course in a Rockland County community college three decades ago. All 25 students who took the exam that first year passed. He moved to Flagler Beach with his wife, Mary, in 2009.
And he only started writing poetry when he was around 70.
In 2011, he’d written a poem to commemorate the end of Alice Baker’s tenure as Flagler Beach mayor. The last lines read:
You’ve given much to us all
We’ll just try thanking you
But since that’s impossible
We’ll wave and bid adieu
Dave Sullivan says
Stan was a great man and friend. He will be missed by us all, he was always generous with his time and loved Flagler County.
God bless his family in this difficult time especially his loving wife Mary.
My condolences to Mary and her entire family. Stan was the nicest man. Always outgoing and cordial when I saw him out at meeting or just in the community. When he found out that me and my wife were Funeral Directors (he called us morticians), the next time I saw him at a meeting he had written a poem about morticians. It was very funny and thoughtful poem. He will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace Stan.
Janice Nickol says
My thoughts and prayers go to Mary and family. Stanley will certainly be missed. So many memories, especially his poems. One memory that comes to mind is when Tom Grimes, retired GM of the Hilton Garden Inn took his Buddy Stan on his first motorcycle ride. It was priceless.
He wrote a poem about Tom and I, and the Hilton Garden Inn. He never missed a beat with his quick wit or a big hello every time he was at the hotel for one of his many organization meetings he supported.
Miss you already.
Nancy Skadden says
A friend of SeaQuills writing group, Stan was a delight to know. We will miss him as all who knew him will.
Greg Feldman says
A true gentleman, with an amazing talent, quick wit and a genuine warmth for everyone he came in contact with. Truly a loss for Flagler County and the great number of people who were lucky enough to call Stan a friend.
Jack Howell says
Stan was a good friend as well as his wife Mary. Wherever Stan went he would light up the room with both his smile and whit. I for one will miss him. I was fortunate to be able to say Stan was my dear friend. Rest in Peace Stan you earned this eternal peace.
Chris and Kathy McKnna says
Stan Drescher loved Flagler Beach, and we all loved him.
We share your sorrow, Mary, and pray for you and your family at this sad time.
Our memories of Stan, of his kindness, of the way he spread joy through his poetry, all are happy memories.
Mary Stanley says
denise calderwood says
With pen in hand and always a smile and a willingness to learn new things late in life, Stan was an inspiration and his humor and outlook will be missed- there won’t be another like him! My prayers are with you all.
Donna & Ray Francis says
My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Stan and Mary as members of the Kiwanis Club. I also had the pleasure of having him write one of his poems especially for me for my 60th birthday party. What a special man and what a special couple. So terribly sad to hear that he has passed. Mary we love you dearly and send you hugs, love, and sympathy.
Skip Westphal says
I first met Stan at the Flagler County Art League, where we have annual poetry competitions in conjunction with an art show. No sooner had I met him there, than I ran into him at a meeting of the Astronomy Club of Palm Coast. He once brought me a poem that is seemingly 900 stanzas about Albert Einstein. He brought me a poem about what we know about the Moon, and many others.
When I took over the presidential moderating duties from Fred Pellmann at Astronomy Club meetings, he was always encouraging, and would tap me on his way out to say “Good program!” We used to give him old copies of Astronomy Magazine to give him something to read. In return he gave me many clippings from the newspapers that he thought might interest me and the club. As I write this Fred Pellmann has a small stack of magazines in his van with a note that says “Stan.” We had our last Club meeting on July 6th. Stan had emailed me that he would be there, but then sent another email on June 26th saying that he would not be there, so we missed him at that meeting. Stan often said that it was sometimes “over his head,” but he always came to our meetings when he could. As a representative on behalf of the Flagler County Art League and the Astronomy Club of Palm Coast, I can say that we will all really miss him.
If I might try to be so profound
I’d say that Knowledge can always be found
By those not wary to search and to rout
And we thank you Stan, sadly it’s over and out.
Tracie Cotto says
I had the pleasure of hearing many of his wonderful poems at the Chamber. He had great wit, humor & heart. You will most definitely be missed Stan. I’m so grateful I got the chance to know you.
David Drescher says
What a wonderful tribute to my brother Stanley. Didn’t realize he was so revered.
Not sure who wrote this article. Thank you
Garry Lubi says
Stan was such a kind and caring man! Always a good word whenever he saw you at a community function along with his quick wit. God Bless his family!
Garry and Barbara Lubi
Robert Blenheim says
Receiving your email informing us of Stan’s passing has struck all of us Live Poets with profound shock and sadness.
Even though he hadn’t been in our group more than a few years, in that time Stan had become a cherished member of our chapter, so loved because of his warmth and wonderful sense of humor that always brightened our spirits.
To say he will be missed is putting it mildly since his loss leaves a significant hole in each of us. Although sometimes expressing innocent frustration when challenging us to defend work he considered too obscure, Stan himself was totally unique as a poet. He always made us laugh as well as moved us emotionally with his work, sharing such wonderfully charming poetry that always shone a positive light at every meeting he attended. Our group will never be the same without him.
It does give us genuine happiness to know that he truly enjoyed attending our meetings, but I assure you the feeling was more than mutual. He was truly beloved in our chapter, and when our poetry society does finally meet again in person after the virus is over, I know I myself will turn my head around a few times looking for Stan’s presence before realizing in pain that he isn’t going to be there. And I won’t be alone.
Sincere condolences to you and all of Stan’s family from all of us Live Poets, and may be rest in peace.
Very truly yours,
on behalf of the entire Live Poets Society of Daytona Beach
of which Stan was a cherished member
Bruce Woodworth says
I only knew Stan for a year or so, but I was not only impressed with his poetry, but by his good nature. The Live Poets of Daytona Beach will miss him greatly. We’ve lost a good friend.