November 18, 2020
Dad was born in Toledo Ohio to his parents John and Virginia Drake. He lost both his parents at an early age. Once graduating high school, Dad went into the Coast Guard, where he served our country and traveled to many different places. So, of course our lives were filled with stories of dad‘s younger years. From Jamaica to Nova Scotia dad spent lots of time on the ocean. He loved the water. In fact, I believe the dad felt most at home in the freedom and weightlessness of the water. After his honorable discharge from the coast guard, dad began his career working as an underground electrician at Jim Walters number seven mines, where he worked for over 30 years. The most well-known story dad always told us from working in the mines was about birthdays. In the mines, if you didn’t bring a cake on your birthday, your fellow workers would hold you down and grease your overalls. So I remember watching him bake his red velvet cake the day before he had to go into work. He told me that was a lesson he only had to learn once. Growing up my sisters and I were shown what a true hard-working man should be. Dad sacrificed his time and his body to supporting his family. Not only did he work six days a week, but he also found time to coach softball teams, take us fishing and fix nearly everything in our home. I remember sitting beside dad as he worked on his car handing him various tools, so he definitely made sure I knew the difference between a Phillips head and a flat head screwdriver. Dad was also a prankster. My sisters and I grew up knowing that dad was never too far away with an air horn or fake blood to give us a scare. I remember growing up almost afraid to turn the corner in our home for fear of dad blasting that airhorn. Most of you knew dad after his back surgery. What most of you don’t know is there before his surgery dad would run, and was one of the most athletic people that I know. He would get in the yard and help me practice pitching for softball. If he wasn’t fixing something around the house he was always in the yard playing with all the children in the neighborhood, cutting the grass, or just enjoying a little sunshine. We used to watch the storms rolling in, feeling the cool breeze and talk about how beautiful God made the earth, how we should always treat it as a gift, just as dad was a gift to us. Dad was the most gentle and kind man I’ve ever known in my whole entire life. He loved animals, there were no such things as strays when it came to dad. Even though in the Coast Guard dad was a superb marksman I don’t believe that he would ever really have hurt anything. That was just how dad was. He never met an enemy, and everyone that ever met him found a friend. Dad would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, but you also have to realize that he was going to go home and write it down in his notebook, because that’s just who he was. He wrote everything down, planned everything out, and had rules for almost anything he ever did. Which of course made him very competitive. He played baseball in the military, and shot pool for many years. Some of my favorite memories are of dad and I shooting pool, with him giving me tips every step of the way. And dad didn’t just shoot pool, he watched videos, wrote down algorithms and always strived to be the very best. There was nothing that dad didn’t want to know. Dad was a very intelligent man, and never wanted to stop learning about anything. Dad always took care of us. He was always a shoulder to lean on and always a place to cry if we ever had a bad day. He gave us multiple chances, but always told us the truth even if we didn’t want to hear it. He was always there to pick us up, dust us off, and set us straight. We all made mistakes, but dad was the first one to make sure that we learned from them. He always said that wisdom comes from living life, good or bad. And always told us it’s not the experiences you have that make you who you are, but what you learn from it when it’s all said and done. He believed that character and a man’s word were the most important things. If he said something it was true, if he told you he would be somewhere, he would be there. He was our rock, our everything. I don’t think dad ever understood just how much he was loved, and how many people he affected with his humor, advice and friendship. He was by far the truest, greatest friend I ever had. When dad passed as we were going through some of the memories in his room we came across his Bible. Of course, he had written notes and favorite Bible verses down on little slips of paper tucked inside. My dad had only one sister, and one of the most important things she ever did for him was tell him about a book that she loved. In fact, she loved the book so much that she mailed him a copy so that he could read it. There was a movie made about the book and a song written in the name of that book. I Can Only Imagine....Dad seemed to find refuge in the words within that song so much that he wrote down the words to that song and put them in a special place to always remind himself of what’s really important. That death is not the end of things, but just the beginning. The only thing that death is the end of is pain, suffering, and a life that always seems to be too short. He understood that this is not home, and that heaven is our true home, and in heaven, everything is perfect, everyone is always happy, always free, always healthy, always kind, and always perfect. For the man that I thought was perfect here on earth, I can only imagine what he’s like in heaven. And even though we miss him so very much and life will never be the same without him, it’s only our selfish needs that want him to be with us. It’s only our emotions that make us cry, because we know that when we get to heaven we will all be together again. Dad. I love you and I miss you every day. I want you here, but I know you’re somewhere where you’re no longer hurting, you no longer have to see such anger and evil in the world. Where simple things like politics, money, and fame are all so unimportant. You’ve been my mentor, my teacher, my friend, but most of all I’m proud to call you dad. I know you’re looking down, surprised to see how many people truly loved you. And you would never admit the effect that you had on those around you. Your humbleness taught us to be humble, taught us to be kind, taught us not to judge, and that I am most grateful for. We will always miss you. There will always be a place they can never be filled. I know you always be watching us, your daughters, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. Helping us along the way, guarding us, giving us advice, and protecting us. I find solace in the fact that I know you’re in heaven. A place where you can stand tall. I find happiness in knowing that in heaven, when you go fishing the fish are always biting, and when you play pool you’ll always run the table. We miss you dad. You’re very loved and very missed and will always be remembered. Love you Daddy, Bethany John was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Virginia Drake, and brother-in-law Richard Keller. He is survived by his children Chanel Rubio (Phillip), Bethany Thompson (Paul), and Lynsey Gill (Jeff); grandchildren Kayla Knight, Kendell Knight, Landon Thompson, Jeremiah Thompson, Nicholas Gill, Lillie Gill, and Shelby Gill; great grandchild Johnathan Carter; sister Carol Keller; numerous nieces and nephews; ex-wife Paula Price; and his fur-babies April, Wesson, and Estelle. The visitation will be from 12:30 PM until 2:00 PM, Monday, November 23, 2020, at Peoples Chapel Funeral Home. The funeral service will be at 2:00 PM at the Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Forest Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to www.K9sforwarriors.org.
Dad was born in Toledo Ohio to his parents John and Virginia Drake. He lost both his parents at an early age. Once graduating high school, Dad went into the Coast Guard, where he served our country and traveled to many different places. So,... View Obituary & Service Information
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