Merton C. Drake, 99, passed from this earth Tuesday August 17, 2021, at home in Millport, NY. Born to Carey Lewis and Barbara Mae Allen Drake on November 26, 1921, he leaves behind his companion of 16 years, Elva Antel; his sister Clara Camilli; his children, Sandra (Richard) Houseworth, Cindy Drake, Jerry (Jennie) Drake, David (Tammy) Drake and Patricia Woodward. He was blessed with 12 grandchildren, many great and great- great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Merton served in the US Army Air Forces 726th Signal Aircraft Warning Company in World War II from 1942-1945 in the Western Pacific as a radio operator. He was witness to the horrors of the battle of Iwo Jima and rarely discussed his experiences as he lost many friends there. His childhood friend, Miles Brown, also survived the war only to perish in a car accident shortly after his return.
Merton married Jane Dassance Drake on August 22, 1948 and they celebrated 51 years together. Their happiest years were after retiring when they became campers, traveling to Florida each winter and returning to NY summers to stay, first at Willowood, then at Jerry’s and Jennie’s in Lowman, NY , and finally to their camper at Dick and Sandy’s in Trumansburg, NY, their summer home for 21 years.
Merton was a truck driver for many years for Alling Transfer, Ithaca Delivery, and Hyman Etess, where he delivered live chickens to NJ. He also worked at Hillendale Golf Course as a grounds keeper, a security guard at G.E., and in 1986 retired from Wilcox Press in Ithaca.
Merton was predeceased by his parents; his infant siblings Roger and Dorothy; wife Jane in 2000; his sister and brother in law, Madeline and Walt McFall; his brother and sister in law, Lawrence (Sam) and Marilyn Drake, his brother in law John Camilli, and his nephew John Drake.
Merton’s greatest legacy is that he was a man of integrity. He worked hard, helped anyone when needed, and made many friends along the way. He is missed already but will be forever in our hearts and memories.
Cindy is appreciative of her neighbor Bruce (and his dog Gizmo) for generously lending a hand at a moment’s notice. Her dog Karl, a tiny chihuahua, became Dad’s constant companion, hardly leaving his side as he became less mobile.
The family is deeply grateful to Cindy for her care of Dad for the last two years and to CareFirst of Painted Post for their assistance in the past few weeks and would appreciate that any contributions be made to CareFirst NY, 3805 Meads Creek Rd, Painted Post, NY 14870 or your local SPCA.
A Graveside Service will be held on August 31, 2021 at 11:00 am at Woodlawn Cemetery in Newfield, NY and then a Celebration of Life will be held at Nichol’s Park in Spencer, NY on August 31, 2021 from 1:00-4:00pm.
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