Oct. 1, 1947 — Aug. 7, 2019
Kenneth C. Drake discovered his career calling as a financial adviser.
The job suited his personality, allowing him to build relationships with clients, said his daughter, Allison Drake.
"He had everybody's best interests in mind and at heart," she said.
Mr. Drake, a Snyder resident, died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday at Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga. He was 71.
Mr. Drake was born in Orchard Park and graduated from high school there. He went on to graduate from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and earned a master's of business administration at the University at Buffalo.
Mr. Drake was a competitive distance runner in college. "As he would tell me, he wasn't the best, but he would make other people around him the best," Allison Drake said. "That applies to everything in his life."
After earning his MBA, Mr. Drake went to work at M&T Bank. It was there that he met his future wife, Shelley Cole, when she stopped by his desk one day in 1972. They married in 1976. Shelley Drake would continue her rise through M&T, and is now the bank's regional president for Western New York.
After he left M&T, Mr. Drake held management positions for several manufacturing companies.
But it was the more than 20 years he spent as a financial adviser with Sagemark Group, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, that he found most fulfilling and rewarding.
"I think it was the perfect thing for him because he loved building relationships," Allison Drake said. "People knew they could, and did, trust him. He was a confidant to a ton of people."
Mr. Drake was "very analytical and process-oriented," which were good skills for the job, his daughter said.
Mr. Drake served on a number of boards, including those of the Elmwood Franklin School, Upstate New York Transplant Services, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Olmsted Center for Sight and Hospice Buffalo.
"He was very committed to all of them," Allison Drake said.
He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Temple Beth Zion and the Saturn Club.
In his leisure time, Mr. Drake loved running. He ran in more than 40 Turkey Trots, and enjoyed participating in races than went past lighthouses, collecting replicas as mementos of each race.
He was an avid golfer — he had a hole-in-one once — and enjoyed skiing and gardening.
Mr. Drake and his children also built a kayak from scratch.
Mr. Drake was diagnosed with cancer late last year, but he remained active and engaged, Allison Drake said. Most recently, he poured time and effort into renovating a newly purchased family cottage on Bertie Bay in Ontario. "It's going to mean so much to us forever," Allison Drake said.
Along with his wife and daughter, Mr. Drake is survived by a son, Robert; two step-siblings, Lisa Horlein and Amy Loehndorf; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.