March 7, 1943 - September 13, 2021
Captain Larry Drake, age 78, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 13, 2021. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Holly Drake; mother, Phyllis Drake; sister, Jan Borden; two adoring daughters, eldest Tanya Drake, her husband Jay Leslie and their three children Nora, Naomi and Violet and youngest daughter Kimi Pallari, her husband Vince and their three children Dominick, Isabella and Gino. Larry was a wonderful and much loved son, brother, uncle, husband, father and grandfather, including to Holly's two sons, their wives and his five step grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert McKee; adopted father, Hal Drake; and sister, Sherry Smith.
He was born in Alhambra, Calif., to Phyllis Fields and Robert McKee, who was killed, at age 20, when his B-24 Liberator was shot down during WWII. Along with his mother Phyllis, Larry was raised by Hal Drake, who adopted and inspired Larry's adventurous spirit. At age 23, Larry was hired to fly Constellations for Flying Tigers. He was flying 747s as a Captain when FedEx bought Flying Tigers. In 1993, his love of the great outdoors came calling when he transferred to Anchorage, Alaska, to fly MD-11s. Larry lived life to its fullest, cramming several lives into his 78 years through his worldly travels as a pilot and his explorer spirit. Always an adventurer and outdoorsman, he loved sailing, flying, camping, skiing and fly fishing. Larry never slowed down, sailing the Transpac race twice, representing on the international FedEx ski team, flying his Super Cub float plane out of Lake Hood Anchorage, drifting and fly fishing the Kenai river as well as many other rivers around the world. He enjoyed rafting the Tatshenshini River, exploring Mexico on his motorbike and camping throughout the west. He loved backpacking in the beautiful wilderness of Alaska, Oregon, and Northern California, where he taught his daughters and wife to love the outdoors as well. Larry never stopped learning, he loved looking at the stars, and carried bird and plant identification books whenever he went hiking with his favorite four-legged partner Charlotte and previous partners Cosette, Katy and Lilly.
Larry and his partner in life Holly Hollingsworth were happily married in Anchorage in 1993, and later moved to Ashland, Ore., after retirement in 2003, to be closer to family. Their many adventures together included crossing the Atlantic on the Star Clipper and celebrating several birthdays at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Although a man of few words, Larry's favorite place to be was in the middle of his many friends, sharing stories, laughs and good cheer. When the party was over he could always be heard claiming - "I was just starting to have fun!"
A celebration of Captain Larry Drake's life was held at a later date in Orange County, Calif. Letters of condolences can be sent to Holly Drake, 558 Long Way, Ashland, OR 97520-3125
The following heartfelt message is from Larry's good friend, A. David Miller (shown with Larry after Miller's last flight).
We lost my dear friend Larry yesterday. I'm still at a loss and dealing with the suddenness of it all. Raise a toast in his honor, he was a great Tiger and I know many will miss him tremendously. He defied his age and lived his life to the fullest. I know that Holly would want you to acknowledge and honor his wonderful presence in many of our professional and personal lives. Our lives are a bit emptier without him.
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