Drake, Dianne Ahlese

Dianne Ahlese Drake, 84, of New Trier, Minn., passed away peacefully on August 23, 2022. 

She was born on November 18, 1937, in Lanesboro. Dianne’s adventurous nature could be seen early on, as she was the first girl to successfully reach the top of one of the many Lanesboro hills on her bike. Dianne graduated from the College of Saint Teresa in Winona and spent her entire professional career as a math teacher, enriching the lives of all her students. Dianne’s longest teaching tenure was at Cotter High School in Winona, where she was affectionately known as “Ma-Drake” by many of her students. She also fulfilled her dream of teaching on a tropical island, spending two years teaching on Guam. Dianne loved to travel, and in addition to visiting many locations in the U.S., she also journeyed to Italy, Russia, and Africa. After retirement, she cherished the precious time spent with her family and many games of bridge with dear friends. Even in death, Dianne continues to teach, as she donated her body to the Mayo Clinic for educational purposes.

Dianne is survived by her children — daughter, Meg Mayer (Jeff Prentice), and sons, Greg Gernes (Carolyn), Dan Gernes, Mike Gernes (Kris), and Steve Gernes (Molly Tatting); 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren (plus one expected in February 2023); and her brother, Michael Drake (Carol). She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Vienna Drake, and brothers, Peter, Don, and David. 

In lieu of flowers, Dianne asked that donations be made to St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Lanesboro, YMCA Camp Olson in Longville, Minn., and Mountain Top Youth Camp in Pinnacle, N.C. 

A celebration of life event will be held at Whalen’s at Westfield, 1460 West Fifth Street, Winona, on Saturday, September 3, from 1-4 p.m. Please join us for a bite to eat and to enjoy each other’s fine company. Never one to follow the crowd, Dianne asked that family and friends not wear black to her services (she did give permission to wear black pants/skirts/shorts). So we respectfully request that you help to make her celebration of life colorful!