SALLISAW, OK—JULY 4, 2012—Longtime Oklahoma horse trainer Don Drake, 75, died Sunday June 30 in Sallisaw.
Don Earl Drake was born March 8, 1937, to John Manuel and Augusta Mae Gann Drake in Sallisaw. He went to Buffington Schools until the 8th grade and came to Sallisaw Schools in the 9th grade. While attending Sallisaw Schools he played football until he graduated from Sallisaw High School in 1957.
On July 25th, 1955, in Stilwell, Oklahoma he married LaJuana Janet Davis. They were married 56 years until she preceded him in death, May 4, 2012.
When Don and LaJuana moved To Edmond, Oklahoma he drove a truck for Coca-Cola, and later worked for Wonder Bread. As a child he started riding horses for a trainer in Sequoyah County and this lead to the career that lasted for the rest of his life. For many years he would train horses during his spare time while delivering bread around the Oklahoma City area.
In 1975 Don decided to train race horses fulltime and begin to establish their own business known as Drake’s Racing Stables with his wife, LaJuana. During this time he became leading trainer at Blue Ribbon Downs several times. He never really retired but turned the business over to his son David and continued to give advice on the horses until his passing.
They had two daughters and one son, Donna Kay Armstrong is their oldest child, married to Ralph Armstrong, Charles David Drake is their middle child with Carol, and their youngest was Janet Sue(Susie) Taylor married to Jeff Taylor, 2 other children: Maigan Sorenson of Sallisaw, OK and Ethan Drake of Eminence, MO. They have 5 grandchildren, Kayla, Keitha, Drew, Jacob and Jordan. They also have 4 great grandchildren, Ajaysa, Aleigha, Kaydence and James. Don has a brother, Vilas Drake and a sister Billie Rose Frost, both of California. He has two brothers and two sisters that have passed and they were W.P. Drake, Charles Manuel Drake, Nadine Johnson and Emma Gean Austin. Don has one very special cousin, Lahoma Drake Kuykendall. He also has several nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Funeral Services will be 10:00 A.M., Thursday, at Mallory-Martin Chapel in Sallisaw, with Reverend Monroe Lowrimore officiating. Burial will follow in Sallisaw City Cemetery under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home in Sallisaw. Viewing will be 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Tuesday and Noon to 5:00 P.M. Wednesday.
Pallbearers will be Ed Stites, Bobby Jack Merrill, Jerry Lee Smith, Donnie Strickland, Gary White and Terry Richard. Honorary Pallbearers will be Sammie Hester, Rex Brooks, Orman Taylor, Leo Craighead and Seynoa Mayfield.
To Mr. Drake’s online guestbook at www.mallorymartinfuneralhome.com.