David Drake

85, served in the U.S. Navy, influenced countless folk with great positivity

David Lavery Drake passed away at the Brookdale Lowry Memory Unit of Denver on May 14, 2020.

David was born July 16, 1935 in Syracuse, N.Y., his hometown until U.S. Navy service. He graduated from Nottingham High School, University of Buffalo and George Washington University.

He happily married to Mary in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. on April 8, 1961, with their 59th anniversary recently honored.

David served during the Cold War in the U.S. Naval Dental Corps for 24 years in active duty and 3 years in reserves from the 7th Battalion Seabees in Guantanamo Bay during the Cuban Missile Crisis to many cruises of sea duty on the USS Saratoga and USS Yosemite through Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. He served many shore duty deployments across North America and western Europe, favoring most the years his family was stationed at RAF Edzell, Scotland. The Celtic Scots Spirit of both his grandmothers fermented into his family there quite productively.

He fly fished, enjoyed malts, went curling, hiked the Highlands, golfed, hunted pheasant and grouse, wore kilts, danced the Highland Fling with Mary and played the bagpipes (sometimes to great astonishment for welcomes and farewells at transport stations and airports!). “Thet Crrrazy Yank izza sight moorrre Scottish thahn we Scots!” his local hillwalker mates were heard to say.

Dave Drake influenced countless folk with great positivity through teaching the Dale Carnegie Course from the 1960s to the 2000s. At N.A.S. Pensacola his course helped some Navy pilots embrace and talk publicly about their UFO sightings for the first time.

Capt. Drake pioneered many shipboard clinical, laboratory and surgical innovations. On land he pioneered many preventive and hygienic medicine innovations after taking his graduate degree in Body Chemistry at George Washington University whilst doing research and surgeries.

An early proponent and practitioner of removing toxic mercury amalgam fillings, he helped improve the lives of thousands across continents.

Dr. Drake was proud of his 1966-69 Pensacola Naval Hospital and 1973 Bethesda Naval Hospital Surgical Teams work repairing the oralmaxofacial/dental combat injuries and torture and neglect damage suffered by our Vietnam War marines, sailors, SEALS and returning POWs, including then U.S. Navy Pilot John McCain.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy Dr. Drake operated Dayspring Dental Services from 1984 to 2005 in Buena Vista and Saguache. Mountain valley communities he dearly loved, especially “Bewnie”.

David Drake loved his God, country and family with hard work, great honor and enthusiasm. His passion for travel and service brought him, his wife Mary and daughter-in-law Erica to many far-flung and dangerous places on Christian Medical Missions, from Siberia to Burma to Peru to Cameroon to Honduras, returning to some many times.

Dutiful son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend, leader, comrade, teammate, coworker, fellow traveler, parishioner, buddy, raconteur, musician, joker, et al were titles Dave Drake lived up to in many places and many lives. We will miss him dearly and honor his legacy.

David was preceded in death by parents Kenneth Perry Drake and Kathryn McClasky Drake and brother Richard Drake.

He is survived by wife Mary Bennett Drake, Buena Vista; sister Deanna Drake, Phoenix, Ariz.; sons Dirk David Drake (Erica), Gainesville, Fla. and Michael Taylor Drake, Gainesville, Fla.; granddaughters Angelina Del Rio Drake, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Lavery Frances Jubilee Drake, Buena Vista; grandsons Captain Sojourner Drake (a.k.a. David Lavery Drake II), Tallahassee, Fla. and Lyle Lucian Leith Drake, Gainesville, Fla.; four nephews and one niece.

A private family graveside service due to COVID-19 restrictions was held May 20.

A celebration of David Drake’s life will be held in Buena Vista at a later date due to the pandemic.