Kyle Stanley Drake Jr., long time resident of Opelika, died peacefully on Oct. 15, 2022, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Alabama. He was 89 years old. Born on Aug. 3, 1933, to Kyle S. Drake and Lorene Henderson Drake in Camp Hill, Alabama, he and his family became residents of Opelika in 1936. He was married to Mary Ann Shippey Drake on Aug. 30, 1952, and was blessed to have Mary Ann as his wife for sixty-two years, until her death on Feb. 12, 2015.
He is survived by their three sons and their wives: Randall (Renee) of Brentwood, Tennessee, Russell (Jay) of Hoover, Alabama, and Kyle (Pam) of Auburn, Alabama; grandchildren Justin Drake, Melissa Drake, Christian Drake, and Mallory Britt. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Corrie Drake.
He attended Northside Elementary School and graduated from Clift High School in 1951. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1955 and later that year entered the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and served on active duty for two years. He was released from active duty in 1957 and served with the U. S. Army Reserves until 1964 when he was honorably discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant.
He entered the private mechanical engineering and contracting business in 1957 and operated that business until 1983. During that period he was privileged to serve as President of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, member and chairman of the Opelika Water Board, member of the AmSouth Bank city Board of Directors, and member and president of the Opelika City Commission.
In 1983, he became affiliated with Auburn University as a mechanical engineer tasked with developing a campus-wide chilled water system to provide air conditioning to university facilities. In 1985 he became Director of its Physical Plant and later that year became its Assistant Vice-President for Facilities. He was later honored to serve as Acting Vice-President for Administration. He retired from Auburn University on Sept. 1, 2000.
He became a member of First United Methodist Church in 1945 and served as member and chairman of a number of its boards and committees. He was honored to serve as a church school teacher, Stephen Minister, and certified Lay Speaker for many years.
Throughout his life, Kyle sought out adventure. He became a pilot in middle age and flew his plane all over the country; always realizing a peaceful calm while flying. He also had a passion for sailing and he and Mary Ann often sought the comfort of the sea. He also had hobbies such as photography and woodturning. Each hobby was accompanied by a spirit of determination to excel. It is what drove him to be so successful in his life. His true gift was his generosity. He never wanted anyone to know of his countless acts of kindness and philanthropy.
A private burial service was held Oct. 21, 2022, at Garden Hills Cemetery (with a memorial service at First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
The family respectfully declines the gift of flowers and suggests that memorial gifts be directed to the:
Kyle S. Drake Jr. Memorial Fund at the University of Alabama, Advancement Services Box 870101
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 First United Methodist Church or to the charity of your choice.