Home Again Stories Reunions


Captain Drake

Remembered by Richard Johns

"When Captain Drake built his new home in Van Alstyne, Texas, we were invited up to his place. My sister and Mrs. Drake (Dorothy) were childhood friends, so we knew David, Bob and Jim - their three kids - and spent many a weekend together between 1972 and 1987, the year "Drake" (as everyone called him then) died".

"In December of 1986, I was due to go into the hospital, and Drake called to tell me he would visit me while I was there. The night before my operation, he called again and said "I won't be able to see you tomorrow. The doctor has found out that there is something wrong with my plumbing". It turned out that Captain Drake had three big tumors, one in his pancreas, one in his liver, and one in his intestines. His doctor gave him six months to live".

"I proceeded to get out my World Cruise Book, and with the help of Ma Bell, got hold of 17 of my shipmates, and asked them to send a card with a small donation. I then purchased a beautiful blue robe, and attached to it a huge decal of the Robinson with guns blazing, and the caption "USS Robinson, Finest in the Fleet".

Wife Jerrie, son Jeff and I took it up to his estate on a Saturday morning - it turned out to be the last Saturday of his life - and he really appreciated the robe. Dorothy said he wore it all the rest of his waking hours".

"Well, Captain Drake passed away on the 15th of March - and on the 17th we had his funeral. He really looked good in spite of death. He was in uniform - then a four striper - with seven rows of medals, including his Legion of Merit.

An Air Force chaplain - a personal friend - conducted the service. We then drove to Sherman where his grave is. Everything went well - until a Navy bugler began blowing taps. Then I really lost it !!"

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