The family of Robert John Drake Jr. wishes to announce his death and spiritual transition on March 21, 2021. Robert was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother. A virtual celebration of his life is anticipated at a future date.
Robert is survived by his wife, Joanne (Trzcinski); children, Lisa (Langton), Ryan, Sienna (Reno), and Alek; grandchildren, Olivia and Ian; siblings, Richard, Betty (Pugliese) and Linda.
Robert or Robbie as known by family and friends, was born in Port Chester, New York to Mary Elizabeth (McCallum), an immigrant from Scotland and Robert John Drake, a descendant from the founding Dutch settlers of New York. He grew up in Mamaroneck, West Chester County, New York. As a teenager, he exhibited his strong work ethic when he began work in television repair. He developed an interest in cars and soon he was fixing cars and “cruising”. He had the nickname of “Hollywood”. He was proud to own a Corvette and to boast that he was the youngest person voted into the Corvette Club. His love of cars stayed with him through his life.
In 1966 he enlisted in the Airforce. He was a member of The Red Horse Combat Engineers, trained as a stone mason and was stationed in Korea during the Vietnam War where he built aircraft hangers.
Upon honorable discharge from the Airforce in 1970, he decided to settle in California in the Bay area where he attended San Francisco City College and earned a Degree in Photography. He studied psychology and worked as a psychiatric technician for several years for people with exceptional needs. He enjoyed the culture that the Bay Area offered and he eventually bought a home in Sonoma.
He was a kind, compassionate, passionate, and very handsome man. Robert will be most remembered by his friends as a photographer. He had the passion to capture each individual for who they were and what they loved. He always had his camera with him. He was a natural at the art and craft of portraiture. He was not afraid to get up close to any situation with his camera. He learned that if you just hung out long enough, people would get used to the camera and then he could get the shot he wanted.
Robert was an artist and tradesman. He moved from California to Oregon because he liked the fishing. He settled in Lebanon, Oregon. He sold his airplane and bought a “fixer upper” and turned it into an artistic, cozy, and comfortable home. Once in Oregon, he connected to and participated in community events often lending a hand with his trades skills but mostly sharing his photography.
He was a comedian. He was a jokester and sometimes would answer the phone “Harry’s hoc shop, you hack um we stack um”. His humor reflected his genuine heartfelt caring for people as he was sensitive and compassionate and his work caring for the most vulnerable reflected that. That being said, he was also quite tenacious and would persist and not give up if he felt that a situation was not equitable or needed ironing out. He was an advocate for himself and others, especially for those in need. He stood his ground and was a great protector. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, love and kindness as well as strength.
Robert was no stranger to physical illness and promoted healing practices for himself and others. He practiced Reiki, meditation, and Tai Chi. He transcended his physical afflictions through spiritual practices. He was open to possibility through the power of heartfelt prayer and service. He loved to talk and had much wisdom to impart and he shared a toke with many.
The world is definitely a better place because of Robbie. His heart was that of a gracious giver and his life was well lived. You are forever in our hearts Robbie!