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John Paul Drake
© Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa
Date: June 16, 2004
Submitted by: David Drake

John Paul Drake
August 7, 1950 - June 12, 2004


John Paul Drake, 53, passed away Saturday, June 12, 2004, at his home in Luther, Okla. John's death occurred while he was preparing the campgrounds on his property, the Drake Ranch, for upcoming gatherings of his family, church and community groups.

Visitation was held Tuesday, June 15, from 7-9 p.m. at the Baggerley Funeral Home, 930 South Broadway, Edmond, Okla. Memorial services were held at 10 a.m. today (Wednesday, June 16) at the First Christian Church in Luther, at First and Dogwood Streets, with the Rev. Harold Staughn officiting. Burial followed at Luther Cemetery.

John Drake was born Aug. 7, 1950, in Winterset. He attended public schools there, graduating from Winterset High School in 1968. Soon afterward, John began his lifelong career in the construction business at C&L Construction in Winterset, before starting the Drake Construction Company. On Feb. 14, 1981, he married Jeri Bek in Winterset. The couple moved to Oklahoma in 1982, where they started Sandstone Excavation.

During the last 20 years, Sandstone was a contractor for numerous major construction projects - including ramp work for the Interstate 35-40 intersection, Gerbers and LaPetite day care centers, McDonald's restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma, Magnolia Trace and other residential developments in Mustang, as well as Pebble Creek, and other apartment complexes in the western outskirts of the city.

John was preceded in death by his parents, John Everett Drake and Lucretia Nadine Storrs Drake, in Winterset. He is survived by a large and loving family, including his wife, Jeri Drake of Luther, Okla.; six sons - John Eric Drake and Jeffrey Clyde Drake, both of Hugo, Okla., Jason Scott Drake of Winterset, Christopher Kyle Stanley of Yukon, Okla., Cole Michael Stanley of Knoxville, Tenn., and Josh Brown of Ames; one daughter, Jamie Tyner of Essex; two brothers, James Lynn Drake of Carson and Jerron Wade Drake of Winterset; and 12 grandchildren - Madison Drake, Matthew Drake, Natalie Drake, Tucker Reese, Cade Scott, Lain Scott, Caitlyn Stanley, Cooper Stanley, Caleb Stanley, Audrey Stanley, Jarryn Sprague and McKinzie Sprague.

John leaves an inspiring legacy as a bold dreamer of dreams and an even more impressive creator of those dreams. A prime example is the Drake Ranch north of Luther, which took shape in the 1990s as John transformed a small ravine with a sporadic stream into a beautiful lake stocked with species of fish suitable for children to catch. At lakeside, he developed wooded slopes into a home for dozens of exotic game animals from around the world. Adjacent to the animal park, he built an overnight camping lodge, swimming pool, carnival rides for children, a ramp for boats and jet skis and picnic areas. He also restored antique horse-drawn carriages, autos, motorcycles and buses for touring the trails of the ranch.

Another principle recipient of his energy and enthusiasm was the First Christian Church of Luther, which became a spiritual home for the extended Drake family. He generously donated his expertise, materials and crew work to help build the church's beautiful new fellowship hall. At his death, he was supervising construction of new parking facilities for the safety of the disabled and the convenience of visitors.

At any given time, John Drake was deeply involved in a variety of projects designed to help the community - from helping revitalize businesses in Luther to planning assisted living homes for longtime Luther residents. Another example of his generosity: He heard of a church building in northeast Oklahoma City that was about to be condemned for structural problems. Quietly, John and two sons made the required repairs at their expense. The congregation presented him with a certificate of appreciation, which remained a prized possession.

Due to his untimely death, many projects begun by John Drake must be left to those who are inspired by his example. Other plans which were only in the dream stages perhaps will be taken up by those who accept the challenge found in the words of one of his favorite hymns: "Redeeming love, a love that knows no limit; Redeeming love, a love that never dies; My soul shall sing throughout the endless ages The Adoration of this great love on high."

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