While Steve Drew and his family relocated to New Jersey a few years ago, he left a lasting legacy in his previous home in Gwinnett County.
Those locals have been in mourning the past few days after learning that Drew, a longtime volunteer in the Gwinnett swimming community, passed away Thursday after a battle with cancer. He worked countless hours with the Gwinnett County Swim League, including a stint as league president from 2003-07.
“Steve was a fixture in Gwinnett swimming, be it on deck as meet referee or behind the scenes running the Gwinnett County Swim League for so many years,” former GCSL president Bill Mahoney said. “It’s not hyperbole that his dedication to the sport impacted tens of thousands of kids through his years of efforts and volunteerism for the Gwinnett County Swim League. I’ll miss getting long phone calls and long, yet humorous and well-worded emails from Steve about his ideas and thoughts on how to make the league better for the 6,000 kids in the GCSL each summer. He truly was a giant in our league.”
Drew served as the GCSL council chair for the Duluth Thunderbolts from 1997-2002 before becoming the league’s president in 2003. He was the GCSL rules chairman from 2009-13 and a county meet referee from 2011-15.
He also was active with Georgia Swimming as a member of its officials committee from 2011-14 — he was certified as a USA Swimming Official from 1998-2016.
“Anyone who met or had the pleasure of knowing Steve, knows how I feel,” GCSL vice president Christy McCall said. “The man was beyond knowledgeable, wrote the most detailed emails, had the biggest servant’s heart and could bring a tense situation to laughter with his unwavering wit. He was a great leader and our swim community lost a true friend. My life is much richer for having known Steve.”
Drew, an IT accounting professional, moved away from Gwinnett, but quickly took volunteer roles in his new home. He was a board member for West Milford (N.J.) Public Schools and was on the city’s Economic Development Commission, serving as vice chairman since 2016. He held an economics degree from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in business, finance and accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.
“No matter if it was in my professional career, my swimming volunteer work or my role as a mother, Steve was always a cheerleader I could turn to if my confidence needed a boost,” longtime GCSL volunteer Meg Rooney said. “Steve was a one of a kind person and it is fair to say that the mold was tossed after he was made. He was smart, funny, thoughtful, wise and a person who continually challenged us all to think bigger and harder. I enjoyed our disagreements almost as much as I enjoyed the times we pulled together. Steve left Gwinnett County a better place and I am so thankful that he touched my life. I am a better person today because of Steve Drew.”