Oh, how the trumpets played in Heaven at 9:30 AM on Saturday, March 27, 2021, when Archie A. Drake took his final breath here on earth with Tina and his kids by his side but was greeted into his eternal life by all of the loved ones who had gone before and had made a place for him. Oh, what a homecoming it must have been to see all the faces that he has missed for so long.
We bet it was one hell of a homecoming when he was met by his mom, Beverly; his dad, Wallace; brothers, Wally and Dennis; sister, Linda; step-dad, Jerry Hartwig; father-in-law, Albert Krause; and his amazing grandma, Mae Corwith, who he told Tina he was going to see just days before he left us. We can only imagine the cackling that has begun with his best friends, Mark aka Chink and Larry, as they catch up on all of the gossip they have been missing out on; and all of the hugs and handshakes that he is already sharing.
To say Archie was one of the best is the understatement of the century. All who knew him knew a man with a great sense of humor, amazing strength, and someone who only gave unconditional love.
Growing up, Archie was known as a “hard-a**.” He could bench over 500 pounds, was the kid who drove his motorcycle through the halls of John Muir, locked his “favorite” art teacher into a locker, and, along with his buddies, picked up that same teacher's car and set it on top of another teacher's car. This of course made for interesting art classes for his kids, as they were constantly reminded by that same art teacher about the things that their dad had done. His kids, of course, thought that made their dad the coolest guy ever.
After Archie turned 18 and a couple of interactions with the law, Archie was given the choice of jail or the United States Army. On August 13, 1968, Archie enlisted. During his time in the service, he became a member of an elite group of men who found enjoyment in jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. One of his favorite jokes to tell was, “Do you know what falls from the sky? Bird sh** and idiots!” He always said if there was one thing he could do again; it would be to jump. In 1969 Archie was injured in an accident on his base in Germany. A jeep that he was a passenger in rolled and his leg was pinned underneath. He had to have two toes removed, several skin grafts, and spent two years in the hospital in a wheelchair with his foot sewn into his calf. Archie didn’t let being in the wheelchair stop him. His cousin Tommy told us how he, while in a wheelchair himself, would push injured veterans through the angry crowds who were demonstrating the war by throwing rocks and garbage at the returning wounded soldiers. On August 17, 1971, Archie retired from the United States Army with a permanent disability, earning the National Defense Medal, Parachutist Badge, and the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.
After leaving the service, Archie married the love of his life and best friend, Tina. There was nothing that would come between Archie and Tina. He promised Tina faithful love and sobriety, and he never failed to keep that promise. Archie and Tina lived their very best lives together. Nothing meant more to them than being with each other, their children, and their grandchildren. They created an amazing family that they were extremely proud of, and they did it together. For Archie, there was no other love, like the love he had for Tina. He knew that they were meant to be together, and his only fear in leaving this world, was that he would be leaving her behind, but Tina knows that it will only feel like a blink of an eye, and she will again be with the love of her life.
Growing up, Cory, Cortney, and Jesse were certain that they had the coolest dad to ever exist. He had the fast, cool cars that would leave layers of rubber outside of the school when he would pick them up, and never said “no” to anything that they wanted or felt like they needed. No matter what the cost was, he always found ways to get it for them. Archie loved to spend time taking his kid's trout fishing, going up north to Burrows Lake every weekend where they would spend the weekend four-wheeling, going to Tomahawk Speedway to watch the races, or going to the Burrows Lake Bar to shoot pool, listen to music, and hang out with friends and family. Nothing made him happier than to see his kids happy. And they were.
As a proud Papa and Grandpa, he was the very best. He was so proud of his grandchildren and wanted to be around them as much as possible. We are quite certain that if he could have skipped having his kids and just go right into having his grandkids, he would have. He was there from the very beginning and he loved watching them grow and was so proud of every single accomplishment they made. He would want his grandkids to know that no matter where they end up in life, that he loved them and that he is so proud of them.
Many who knew Archie, were lucky enough to receive a nickname from him; and all who knew him, knew that if he gave you a hard time, that he liked you. It was when he was nice to you that you had to worry. However, there weren’t many who experienced his bad side because he was truly one of the kindest men to ever live on this earth. A man who loved everyone and would give the shirt off his back and his last dollar to someone in need. Heaven truly gained an angel; and while his family could never explain the pain and sadness that they are feeling from the weight of this loss, they know that he will continue to love and guide them from heaven, and they find peace in knowing that they will all be together again.
Archie leaves behind the love of his life and wife of 43 years 9 months and 2 days, Tina; his children, Cory (Kristen), Cortney aka Piglet (Johnny) Drake-Heck, and Jesse (Beth); his grandchildren, Malachi aka Doopa, James aka Buddha, Micah aka Micah Man, Noah aka Noah Noah, Tegan aka Tegan Beegan, Takoda aka Popeye, Wyatt aka Wyatt Earp, Taylor, Brady, and Reese; great-grandson Colt aka Colt-45; his mother-in-law, and someone he considered to be one of his very best friends, Joan Krause; sister, Angela (Isaiah) Zwifelhofer; as well as many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends that he loved very much. If there was one thing, we could say to each of you, it is that he loved every one of you and there wasn’t a day that he didn’t say a prayer for you.
Funeral services will take place at 12:00 noon on Monday, April 26, 2021, at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce Street, Wausau. Pastor Jenn Collins will officiate. Visitation will take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021, from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Man of Honor will do a "Final Salute" at 5:30 pm. Visitation will resume on Monday from 10:30 am until the time of the services. All to take place at the funeral home. Burial will take place at Restlawn Memorial Park.
Archie was a man who loved our Lord; and so, his story must be told, so others may find hope. He lived a life filled with his love of faith, family, and his country. He was a man who never gave up, but this mountain was just too high for him to climb; so, the Lord marked this day and called him home and told him his peace is now found. Remember to love your Lord, pray for each other, and love one another, and to hold each other tight. We are never promised tomorrow and our time here on this earth is short. ~ You are the love of my life and we will be together again… in just a blink of an eye. Love, Tina
Give heaven a little hell grandpa, until we are all together again, know that we love you and will miss you every day!
As our sweet Archie would say each night, “Goodnight, Sweet Dreams, Love You, God Bless.”