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Theodore J. Drake, 90

August 1, 1929 - March 11, 2020

Theodore J. Drake, 90, of Harlingen, died at home on March 11.

Theodore J. Drake

Ted was born on August 1, 1929, the only child to parents Elmer Drake and Margretta Huff Drake, and raised in the same home in which he died at 5 Maple Street, Harlingen.

He attended Montgomery grammar schools and graduated from Princeton High School in 1947, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball, and was the captain of the football team his senior year. In 2008, Ted was inducted into the Princeton High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

Perhaps Ted’s greatest catch at Princeton High was his beloved wife Marion, whom he met at a youth dance at the Harlingen Reformed Church, pursued as a cheerleader on the football sidelines, and married in 1950. When Marion died in February 2018, the two had spent 68 years together building a beautiful life and family.

As a resident of Harlingen for the better part of a century, Ted served his community in countless ways, including as a master plumber. He joined his father’s family business, Drake’s Plumbing and Heating, full-time out of high school, following a post-graduate year at the Pennington School.

Through the years, Drake’s Plumbing developed a strong reputation for quality and honesty, in large part due to Ted’s work ethic and friendly demeanor. Son Doug Drake still operates Drake’s Plumbing & Heating in Harlingen, where he and his wife Jennifer have lived for years with Marion and Ted, continuing the generations of Drakes living and working in the town.

Ted is a long-time parishioner of Harlingen Reformed Church, where he served as deacon. He was very active in the Montgomery Fire Department, taking on the role of fire chief in the 1960s. Ted is also credited with helping to introduce softball to the Montgomery area in the 1960s with the Montgomery Men’s Independent Softball League, which he started along with the Lubas family and others. Ted and his sons—all great athletes like their dad—competed in and dominated the league for decades, taking first place year after year.

Ted enjoyed a rich retirement, playing golf, bowling, cheering on the Yankees, wintering in Florida, and spending time each summer on Long Beach Island, where Marion always made sure he had a berry wine cooler within reach. When he wasn’t gathering at the Lubas house for a game of poker or watching reruns of Gunsmoke, “Pop Pop” loved celebrating birthdays with his growing family, accompanied by his favorite country music tunes and a big bowl of ice cream.

Ted was loving, kind, easy-going, and imbued with a clever sense of humor that always left us smiling. That legacy will live forever in our hearts.

Ted is survived by his three sons: David Drake and his wife, Sarah, of Belle Mead; Gary Drake and his wife, Diana, of Pennington; and Doug Drake and his wife, Jennifer, of Harlingen; his grandchildren, Katharine and Kenneth Talanian, Emily and Robert Haderer, and Alexandra, Daniel, Sean, Julia, Kaylee and Hunter Drake; and his great grandson, Greyson Drake.

Donations can be made in Ted’s memory to Harlingen Reformed Church at 2142 US Highway 206, Belle Mead, New Jersey, 08502.


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