In Memoriam: Thompson E. Drake
Thompson E. Drake, a member of the American Rhododendron Society since 1962, passed away at his home in Coquille, Oregon, on April 9, 2004. He was born in Oceana, California, in 1919 and has resided in Coquille since 1934. He leaves behind his wife of fifty-nine years, Ann, and children, Michael, Patricia, Terry and Sherry, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.
He attended Oregon State College before entering the Air Force in 1941, and after his discharge in 1945 he began building homes with his father. He was in the commercial construction business for forty-two years.
Tom began growing rhododendrons after receiving 'The Honourable Jean Marie de Montague' for a gift in 1952. He joined the Society in 1962. He served as president of the Southwestern Oregon Chapter several times and had been flower show chairman since the show's inception in 1990. He was awarded the Bronze Medal from the SWO Chapter as well as a medal from the Siuslaw Chapter in Florence, Oregon. He was an active participant in the Siuslaw Chapter for many years, making the round trip of 140 miles for chapter meetings and flower shows. He also served as an Alternate Director for District 4. Both the Southwestern Oregon Chapter and the Siuslaw Chapter have a trophy in their flower shows dedicated to Tom. An enthusiastic grower, he enjoyed propagating and hybridizing. He shared his plants as door prizes, plant auctions and gifts. He rarely missed a convention. The plant sales were a favorite event for Tom.
He was a grower of seeds. He joined the RHS, the Heather Society, the North American Heather Society, the Scottish Rock Garden Society, the Alpine Society and the Cyclamen Society. The seeds he received from these groups were like presents coming in the mail. He learned how to create English troughs from hypertufa and taught several workshops at his home and at conventions held at Eureka and Florence. His garden and his gardening friends will miss him.