PHOENIX — A family remembers their father, who died due to COVID-19, after his name was published on the front page of the New York Times Sunday.
Dean Leroy Drake passed away on April 29, 2020, due to COVID-19. He had been battling Alzheimer's for years, and died at a Valley long-term care facility. Drake tested negative for COVID-19 about a week before his death. A second test for the virus came back positive after his death.
Drake's name was published on the front page of the New York Times on Sunday, along with the names of 1,000 other victims of COVID-19.
"A great, loving man," said his oldest son Dean Chris Drake. "There was always this inherent sweetness in him."
"In a time where it wasn’t so cool to be involved in your kid's lives, he certainly was," said his youngest son, Steve Drake.
Drakes two sons remember him as funny, meticulous, and willing to drop his own interests, such as golf, to pick up whatever his children liked at the time.
"When we were kids we played dungeons and dragons, he made a binder that was about two inches thick of a whole imaginary world with notes about everybody you could possibly meet," said Steve Drake. "I don't know how many hours he must've spent [on] that."
Each name was published in the New York Times was accompanied by the person's age, and a small description taken from an obituary. Drake's read "Visited Many Countries."
"He retired when he was 55," said Linda Drake, Dean Drake's wife. "So from 55 to 75 we traveled all over the world."
Drake, a retired engineer, was one of eight Arizonans published.
Other Arizonans published were: Patricia Plante, Charles Dow Long, Marvin Thomas, Wilma Ruth Montgomery, 91, Juanita Sanchez Valdes, 90, Betty Jo Barney, 91.