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Death of Life Member Curtis "Curt" Drake.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of our Life Members, Curt Drake.
He passed away Thursday, April 13, 2016.


An amazing man who loved photography...
by Tom McCall

Curtis Drake joined the Twin City Camera Club in September 1981.

Curt was active in our competitions over the years in Film Slides and Prints.  Curt had a darkroom at his home and Curt won numerous awards, including the Black & White Print Competition Point Champion in 1983, his second competition season.

I say amazing because Curt always had a way of amazing me by just how he was every time I saw him.  I liked greeting him with "Hello there young man" and he would get a big smile and say I think you must mean someone else.  He was always nice to everyone, always had a kind word and his smile would make you smile and he always had a twinkle in his eyes. 

How about this one.  In March of 2008, when Curt was 92, he started attending our digital workshop classes so that he could learn how to use a computer to work on images in Photoshop.  He told me at the class "It's all your fault." and said that his family had his doctor prescribe that he use a computer.  I think they gave him one as a present for Christmas, three (3) months later, here he is learning how to process photos and I must say I thought he did remarkably well.

Another amazing thing, Curt was serious about competing and participating in our meetings.  I looked at the stats sheets from 2004, posted on our website and found that Curt competed in Black & White Prints, Color Prints and Film Slides.  In 13 consecutive competition seasons, had 2 First Place finishes, 6 seconds, 2 thirds, 1 forth, 1 fifth and 1 seventh place finishes and that was just in Black & White Prints.  During the same time period, he did very well in Film Slides and Color Prints also.  In our last season, 2015-16, he finished Second in B&W Prints and Third in Color Prints and he was 100 years old.  That my friends is amazing in anyone's book.  Take a look, you'll be amazed to.  

Curt was one of the men in an informal group that called themselves "the monochrome gents" and were interested in black and white photography.  Since then, they've changed the the name to "the Black & White group" and invited more men and women.  They try to get together once a month for a field trip and/or to share ideas.  Curt was still active with them until last fall and from what I've heard, added a lot of enjoyment and laughter to the group.  

The "Monochrome Gents" Dennis Mally, Curtis Drake, Jim Lynch, Dick Lyon, John Opie and Gorson Drake at Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve in 2006. (photo by tri-pod)

Curt had many other interests, including firearms, shooting and reloading ammunition.  Gorson Drake, Curt's cousin, used to tell me about their trips out west to shoot.  Gorson says that Curt was like a father to him.  John Smith tells me about shooting with Curt and that Curt was instrumental in getting him involved in reloading ammunition.  Everyone says Curt excelled in target shooting.

  It was always fun and interesting talking with Curt, he had a sharp mind and not much got by him.

I'm going to miss Curt, he was one of the good guys and a marvelous human being.    


We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Irene, his wife of over 78 years, and to all of their family and friends. 


The Herald Palladium
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Curtis William Drake

Curtis William Drake was born June 21, 1916, in Bangor, the son of Curtis and Jean (Humphrey) Drake.  He passed away Thursday, April 13, 2017 at South Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Community.

Curt, as he was known, grew up on Van Auken Lake.  He moved to Chicago after school to work with his uncle, James Humphrey.

Curt was united in marriage to H. Irene Lovegrove on July 14, 1938, in Alexander, Canada, and for the next 78 years, they were inseparable.  They met in Chicago at a church social.  Irene had moved from Canada to Chicago to help her aunt Ethel who had arthritis.  They later returned to Van Auken Lake to farm (Cherry Hill Fruit Farm) and raise their family.

Curt was a life member of Hartford Federated Church, life member of Twin City Camera Club (36 years), Fruit Belt Camera Club and Southern Michigan Gun Club.  He was a competitor in camera and gun club activities right up until the end.  He had a love for life and living it to the fullest.  It was often said that there were not many things he didn’t love and enjoy.

Curtis’ many hobbies and interests were daily target practice shooting his firearms (weather permitting), shooting his camera at every opportunity, woodworking (making many keepsakes for friends and family) and traveling to various destinations at home and abroad.

Curt believed in giving back to the community.  He was a school board member all the years his children attended school.

Curt is survived by his wife, Irene; a daughter, Jean (Ronald) Johnson of Hartford; a son, Dale Drake of Hartford; three grandchildren: Roderick (Kathy) Johnson, Darcelle (Kenneth) Austin and Danielle (Michael) Aschenbrener; six great-grandchildren: Gabriel and Gwen Johnson, Victoria and Ayden Austin, and Maxwell and Valentina Aschbrener.

Curt was preceded in passing by his parents; two brothers: Virgil and Donald Drake, and a sister, Shirley Schroyer.

A memorial celebration of life service will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Hartford Federated Church, with Pastor Richard Ely officiating.  As to Curtis’ wishes cremation has taken place. His ashes will be placed in Thomas Cemetery, Bangor Township.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hartford Federated Church.  Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so on our website at





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