Stephen Michael Drake
Born In: New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada
Born: October 30th, 1934
Passed on: November 12th, 2012
God called our home on Saturday past. Said He needed a hard workin’ man to help him out in heaven. Steve agreed to lend a hand. He always did. He closed his eyes. Wait now, he thought, I have to make sure my kids are OK. Steve’s life work had been about looking after his kids. Heaven would have to wait a bit.
Steve was a coal miner for almost 40 years. He was hired to work in Number 12 Pit in New Waterford just before his 16th birthday. It was 1950. He earned his stripes and was held in high regard as a good coal miner. His pit buddies put it best: Mother Nature couldn’t outsmart him; nobody could out work him and he kept the cleanest section in the pit.
On Aug. 5, 1955, Steve married the most beautiful woman in the world; Kaye MacAskill. They had four children, Stevie, Linda, Sherry and Patrick. The family lived in New Waterford; down by the shore. He would have little time to be a young father. When tragedy struck and Kaye could not be there for the kids; Steve became both mother and father. There was no blueprint for raising four small kids in the 1960s. The easy thing would have been to cut and run. Not Steve Drake. His kids would be raised in the family home.
Steve worked in the pit ... tonnes of overtime. He moonlighted as a carpenter. He hired babysitters. His most trusted neighbours looked after the kids when he went to visit Kaye in Halifax. He was Santa Claus and Mr. Mom long before single parent families became acceptable; a beacon through our storms of life. He never asked for anything for himself. How do you thank a man who has taken his girls from crayons to perfume and his boys from BB guns to university? The words hero and knight in shining armour come to mind.
Steve was a good man who led by example; quietly, with integrity, inner strength and a sincere concern for the well-being of others. No was not in his vocabulary. He was as warm to the kids at Halloween as he was to the neighbour who needed a leaky tap fixed. He made our home a safe haven for his own kids and every kid that walked through the door. He was Big Steve on the way in and Da or Poppa on the way out. He was just that way. He had an aura about him.
Steve liked to tinker around his garage, watch the wrestling and read the newspaper; cover to cover. He could fly on the dance floor and taught his girls the two step by standing them on his feet. He played a mean game of tarabish and loved a good belly laugh. In his later years he built this great big deck facing Drake Street and sat out for endless hours enjoying the fresh air and many chats with his family, friends and neighbours. He chatted a lot.
Steve’s guidance and words of wisdom shone through in his blunt advice to his kids. Get an education. Do your job. Pay your bills. We all listened. His Olympic Gold was the four graduation pictures of his kids and three graduation pictures of his grandkids hung on the living room wall. He called it his “Honour Wall”.
God waited while Steve slept through Saturday and Sunday. Da, we’re here in the room. Stevie, Sherry and Patrick. We know you can hear us bud. Linda is on the phone from Alberta. Da, it’s me Linda, I’m coming home, I love you. We’re all OK.
On Sunday, Steve’s heart was full but he had one more thing to take care of. He did what he always did; he beat the odds. He stayed with his family until Monday. He took God’s hand at 2:20 a.m. on Nov. 12; Ma’s birthday. His job was done.
Steve was a coal miner’s son, born in New Waterford on Oct. 30, 1934, in the living room of the family homestead on Drake Street. William and Gladys (Deagle) Drake were his proud parents and blessed him with two brothers and two sisters.
Left to remember him are his very proud kids, Stevie (Barb); Linda (Wayne); Sherry (Graham); Patrick (Jan); his two cherished grandkids Christopher and Julianna and his much loved sister, Elizabeth. He is in heaven today with Kaye, his parents, brothers Pat and Billy Joe, sister Margie, his cherished grandson Tyler and a menagerie of four-legged furry friends. Da, the proudest thing we ever got to say is that we’re Steve Drake’s kids.
Luv ya Da. Miss ya Poppa.
Special thanks to Dr. Sheira Haq, Dr. Peter Littlejohn and the wonderful staff on the Medical Floor at the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital.
Visitation will be Thursday, Nov. 15, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, 380 Smith St., New Waterford. Steve will rest at 12 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the Calvin United Church, Hudson Street, New Waterford, where a celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at St. Agnes Cemetery. Afterwards all are welcome to join Steve’s family and friends at the Calvin Hall on Smith Street for hugs, tears, a belly laugh or two and a few old pit stories about God’s newest helper.
Donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.vjmcgillivray.ca.