Raleigh Mosely Drake Jr. died August 27, 2019. Raleigh was "hatched" in 1933 in Macon, Georgia.
He attended high school in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Dad recalls while building a victory garden he came across musket balls, glass syringes and Zachary Taylor campaign medals; believed that that old brick house may have been a hospital from the Civil War.
Dad graduated High School in Kent, Ohio, at age 16 as a member of the National Honor Society. He also was an Eagle Scout and played the cornet.
He is survived by his soul mate partner, Yuvone Cripps; daughter Christine D Woolridge; granddaughter Melissa McReynolds (Shawn); great-grandsons: Logan Peck, Raiden Mehl, Nathan McReynolds and Nicholas McReynolds; sister Irene Calloway; nephews Bob Calloway, Doug Calloway, Rich Calloway and John Calloway, and so many other friends that became family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Raleigh Mosely Drake Sr and Irene Greenleaf Drake, sister Dorothy Hubbard, brothers-in-law: Donald Hubbard and Charles Calloway, son Kenneth Drake, daughter Deborah Drake and son-in-law Shawn Woolridge.
He learned to drive from his dad at the young age of 8 on the Daytona beach in a '38 Buick.
He barely could see over the steering wheel. His mother had him wear a hat so he would look older. One time, driving from Fredricksburg to Washington, at the age of 11, he was stopped by a cop. The cop told him "no, no, no . . . don't do that!" His father and mother were in the back seat at the time.
Raleigh obtained a bachelor's degree in science in 1953. He started his science interest in grade school studying biology; during this time, one of the professors at Kent State University loaned him a microscope for a few years. Chemistry in high school and then physics in college.
He joined a flying club and learned to fly and obtained his pilot's license at the age of 19; along with graduating college in the same year. As he stated, he then was able to get cheap plane rental.
He completed graduate school at Purdue in Indiana.
In 1954 was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.
About 1955 he was drafted in the Army. He assisted as a scientific and technical private in the beginning development of the reconnaissance drones in Fort Huachuca.
He was employed by Bendix in Ann Arbor, Michigan around 1959.
In 1963 he was hired as an optical physicist engineer by AURA (National Observatory - Kitt Peak Observatory) and moved to West to explore and go on adventures. He retired in 1992.
In 1973 there was an eclipse and he and his Blazer were employed by AURA for reconnaissance of their equipment for the eclipse in Africa. While in Africa, he found a stone meteorite that another scientist asked if he would trade him for a metal meteorite. That rare stone Meteorite is displayed in the Smithsonian.
Tucson Four Wheelers Jeep Club 1960
Tucson Scuba Diving Club 1970
Tucson Ultralight Club 1980
1990 purchased a 182 Cessna to travel and explore.
His summer home was a cabin on the Mogollon Air Park. He had many adventures including flying for breakfast with many other pilots on the Air Park and exploring around the area. Raleigh would fly his ultralight and spot the next adventure. He has many friends that became family.
Raleigh enjoyed sharing his "Raleigh adventures" and inspiring others. Loved flying, loved building fires (thus firebug nickname), loved exploring Indian ruins.
Many adventures in the west included to Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly.
From the first trip to Baja in 1969; Cabo San Lucas was his "more better" place. He spent several winter months on the beach at Los Frailes in Baja. He had many friends that became family.
Raleigh's margarita recipe is the best!
At his request, there will be no memorial service but in honor of him, he would love if you go on an adventure, explore, camp, fly a plane, inspire others, keep a napkin in your pocket and most of all to toast to him with a margarita.
Silver Creek Mortuary handled arrangements. To send your condolences to the Drake family, visit www.silvercreekmortuary.net.