Cover photo for Gerald Drake's Obituary

Gerald Drake

May 11, 1928 — January 29, 2024

Caribou – Gerald A. Drake, 95, died January 29, 2024 at Caribou. He was born in Van Buren, May 11, 1928, the son of the late Nelson and Mildred (Piltz) Drake. He attended Caribou schools, but prior to graduating, Jerry enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned his high school diploma in 2008, receiving it on his 80th birthday. He also served with the 152nd Field Artillery, Maine Army National Guard. He married Betty Borden, January 18, 1951. Jerry owned and operated Jerry’s Gulf in Caribou for 18 years, and then owned and operated Jerry’s Flying Service in Caribou. During his time as the owner and airport manager he began the first air ambulance in Aroostook County, worked with Loring Air Force Base to implement the radar approach procedure and was instrumental in having the runway extended 1000 feet for use by larger aircraft and having pilot-controlled lighting installed. He accumulated over 18,000 hours of flight time by teaching his students to fly as well as charter flying and ambulance trips. During his long aviation career, Mr. Drake earned the flight safety award in 1983 for assisting aircrafts in distress and also received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of flying, he was also a licensed aircraft mechanic. He was a member of the Gray Memorial United Methodist Church. Jerry was a member of the Civil Air Patrol since 1961, a 60-year member of Caribou Lodge #170 A.F. & A.M., Garfield Chapter #48, the Anah Temple Shrine where he was an active member of the Anah Indies. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge. Jerry lived a long and wonderful life, touching the hearts of many. He loved making cheesecakes, biscuits and dancing to country music. He and Betty also enjoyed cruise vacations and traveling in their motor home. He was a hard-working, gentle man with an incredible work ethic. Surviving in addition to his wife of over 73 years, Betty of Caribou, are his children Judy Spies and husband Gerrett of Washington State, Stephen Drake and wife Linda of California, two sisters Brenda Ketch of Madawaska Lake, and Geraldine Curran of Eagle Lake, one granddaughter Adina Spies of Arizona, a special step-granddaughter Carol Bouchard and family of Sanford, many nieces, nephews and cousins.  Jerry was predeceased by his sister Patricia Lajoie in 2019.
At his request, there will be no calling hours. Graveside memorial service will be held in the spring at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Halfway House Pet Rescue, PO Box 488, Caribou, Maine 04736, or Garfield Chapter #48, 41 Hatch Drive, Suite2, Caribou, or the Anah Temple Shrine, 1404 Broadway, Bangor, Maine 04401. Arrangements by Mockler Funeral Home.

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