Iowa leaders respond to Drake’s death

Jack Drake


By The Iowa Statesman


Topic A LogoOver the weekend, state Rep. Jack Drake (R-Griswold), 81, passed away at Cass County Hospital in Atlantic. He had served in the Iowa General Assembly for nearly 23 years.

Drake was serving his 12th term in the Iowa House of Representatives. Republican Party of Iowa chairman Jeff Kaufmann, who served with Drake in the Iowa House for a number of years, was the first member of Iowa GOP leadership to respond to the news of his passing.

“I had the honor of sitting beside Jack in the Iowa House, and I learned he was a man of great integrity and a strong advocate for Iowa agriculture,” he said. “I will miss him, the Iowa House will miss him, and our great state will miss his capable and steady hands.”

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds each responded to the news on Monday afternoon.

“Jack Drake was one of the first volunteers to help organize my campaign for Lt. Governor in 1978,” Branstad said.  “Representative Drake conscientiously served the citizens of southwestern Iowa for many years in the legislature.  He was a true gentleman and will be greatly missed.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Drake family during this difficult time.”

Drake won his first term in the Iowa House in the 1992 General Election, ending Jack Hatch’s first term of service in the Iowa General Assembly. He served on the House Agriculture, Appropriations, and State Government committees and was chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee.

“I had the pleasure of working very closely with Jack in many capacities on issues important to rural Iowa,” Reynolds said. “You would be hard-pressed to find a better advocate for his constituents in the Iowa Legislature. My thoughts and prayers are with Shirley and the entire Drake family during this time.”

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who learned of her friend’s passing Monday, commented, as well:

“Jack was a phenomenal voice for our agricultural community and our great state. I was honored to serve with Jack in the state legislature and always valued his hard work and in-depth knowledge on the issues most important to Iowans. Jack was a good friend and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Shirley and their family during this difficult time.”

Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) also weighed in:

“I was saddened to learn of State Representative Jack Drake’s passing. I enjoyed serving with Jack for my 10 years in the Iowa House. Jack was truly a great man who worked on putting policies in place to improve the lives of his constituents. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Drake represented House District 21, which includes parts of Pottawattamie and Cass counties and all of Adams and Union county.  House District 21 includes the cities of Afton, Arispe Atlantic, Corning, Creston, Cumberland, Griswold, Lorimor, Massena and Nodaway.

Branstad will set a date for a special election for House District 21 at a later date.

According to the funeral home death notice, Drake was born near Walnut, graduated from Atlantic High School, and attended the University of Iowa. He was a farmer, and very active in local and state organizations, including the Walnut Telephone Company, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, and the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

He also was a former Board Member of the Pottawattamie County Zoning Board; the former President of the East Pottawattamie County Farm Bureau; and the former President of the Pottawattamie County Extension Council. Jack was active in 4-H and served as a leader of the organization at one time.

The Duhn Funeral Home in Griswold says services will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the Griswold United Methodist Church. Interment will be held at the Griswold Cemetery. Visitation with family will be from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the church.

Drake is survived by his wife Shirley, two sons, two daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.