Tomalee (Tommy) Drake, 78, Orange

 

Last updated 4/25/2023 at 5:38pm

Tomalee (Tommy) Drake passed away Sunday April 23, 2023, after battling COPD and other health problems for many years. Mr. Drake was born November 10, 1944.  He graduated from Lutcher Stark High School in Orange, Texas and attended Stephen F. Austin State University and Lamar University.

He volunteered for the National Guard and completed his training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Fort Polk, Louisiana.

He enjoyed participating in bull riding in his younger years and often said he wished he could ride a bull just one more time.  He piloted planes until he narrowly escaped a mishap upon landing and decided he needed to stay on the ground.  He even worked as a deep-sea diver in the Florida Keys for a short time. His other passions were tinkering with cars and racing them on a dirt track and playing golf until his knees gave out and he could no longer play.  Fishing for bass and white perch at his camp on Toledo Bend with his wife Faye was something he looked forward to every weekend and on holidays.

He had a long and successful career at Gulf Oil Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas before opting for an early retirement in 1992 when Chevron acquired Gulf. His grandfather owned and operated several Drake’s Drive-Ins where Tommy worked in the kitchen as a teenager.  He always wanted to own a restaurant of his own and that dream became a reality soon after he left Chevron.

T C’s Diner on Martin Luther King Drive in Orange became the hot spot for lunch almost immediately and many days saw customers waiting for a seat.  The long hours and hectic schedule of this adventure began interfering with family and leisure time so he made the decision to set out on another adventure.  He sought out and accepted positions that suited his organizational skills and ability to help companies grow and prosper.

After retirement, he and Faye enjoyed more adventures, taking cruises and traveling across the United States.  They especially loved taking their ’67 Ford Galaxie 500 Convertible and ’57 Studebaker Silverhawk out on tours and to car shows and enjoyed the fun and fellowship of belonging to the AACA Louisiana Region, Evangeline Chapter and Contraband Chapter of AACA.

He leaves to honor his memory wife Faye Drake; sons Kevin Drake of Orange, Texas and Taylor Drake of DeRidder, Louisiana; daughter Emily Cooksey and husband Jesse of Boerne, Texas, brother Keith Drake and wife Sandy of Flower Mound, Texas, his brother-in-law Frank Brown of Orange, Texas; along with James Juneau and wife Lisa of Round Rock, Texas; Danny Juneau and wife Charlee of Westlake, La.

Also mourning his loss are grandchildren Riley and Zachary Cooksey; Devyn Drake; Tyler & Jackson Drake; Madeline, Lux and Della Juneau and great-grandchildren Violet and Daniel Juneau.

His parents Betty and Earl Drake, his sister Vicki Brown, his brother Steve Drake and grandson Ryan Juneau preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 29, 2023, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. Officiating will be Pastor Laraine Waughtal of First United Methodist Church in DeRidder. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Orange.

The family will receive visitors in Claybar Funeral Home in Orange, Texas on Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

 

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