Richard Edward Drake (Dick), 1937 – 2014
Richard Edward Drake (Dick)
1937 – 2014
On June 20, 2014 Dick went to be with the lord, after a lengthy and hard battle with esophagus cancer.
Dick was born in Summit, N.J., and raised on a farm in Far Hills. Dick was always an outdoors person, and hard worker. Horseback riding took up all of his spare time, and that is where he met his wife of 58 years, Dorothy Applyby Drake (Doy). They would be seen at all of the local horse shows competing with each other.
Dick was in the construction business with heavy equipment. In 1966 with six children they headed to California to pursue his dream to become a stuntman, in no time he was on the road with a stunt show. This led to some doubling and acting, and more animal work, supplying animals for the motion picture industry.
There 7th child was born in 1968. In 1975 they moved to Tehachapi along with their menagerie of wild and exotic animals. One of his first feats was to round up the camels that were loose on the Cummings Ranch, bring them to the Camel Farm on Highway 202, then break them and train them for the movie “Humps," where Dick had played several parts. He co-stared, doubled several actors, and was head wrangler. This was a great time for him.
Dick excelled in all that he did and has done about everything you can think of. He was instrumental in erecting the first windmills in Tehachapi, road excavating, and private investigator. Dick was well known among the animal industry for his ability to work with elephants. He transported many difficult elephants from one zoo to another with the help of his two sons Edward and Kenneth. Having a total of five of his own personal elephants, using them for motion picture industry and rides at leisure parks. Dick traveled with Circus Vargus performing and in charge of their elephant herd. Dick trained an elephant to water ski for the movie “Honky Tonk Freeway.”
Dick was a great supporter and promoter for the “Indian Pow Wow” which as a family they produced for 19 years. He was an active member of the local volunteer CSU unit, Loyal order of Moose and Master Mason.
Dick leaves behind a wonderful legacy, eight children, 21 grand-children, and 24 great grand-children.
He was preceded in death by his oldest son Edward Drake in December 2013.
A pot luck lunch will be held July 2, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the local VFW as a tribute where Dick was an associate member.