May 13, 1931—April 29, 2018
Richard D. Drake was born May 13, 1931 in Winnemucca, Nevada. He passed away peacefully on April 29, 2018 in Reno, his family by his side. Richard grew up with parents Emilia (Bengoa) and Russell Drake in small towns throughout northern Nevada. He attended Humboldt County High School. He played football and basketball when he wasn’t hunting or driving his ‘34 Ford up the mountain to fish at Knott Creek Reservoir. He graduated in 1949 after helping his six-man football team stay true to their season motto of “State in ‘48.” Richard enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1950 and was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas. He was honorably discharged in 1953.
Aunt Josie and Uncle Dave Bankofier’s Ten Mile Ranch was home for the next 10 years. Richard took care of the herders who took care of his sheep, moving camp and cooking for his crew. He was known for his delicious homemade bread and pies.
Employment at Sierra Wine and Liquor brought him back to town, during which time he saw an opportunity to purchase the Gem Bar in Winnemucca in 1964. The following year he met and married the love of his life, Diana. While driving toward Crescent City on their honeymoon, Richard told Diana about a place down a dusty road that he one day hoped to own.
The mid-‘70s brought new business ventures. The Reno Turf Club became the Gem Slot Bar when Richard relocated the race and sports book to the train depot. The Turf Club was unique for northern Nevada, before casino-based race and sports books existed.
Knott Creek Ranch, purchased in 1978, fulfilled his lifelong dream. Full-time ranching came after selling his businesses. He turned a landscape of sagebrush, willows and lots of rocks into productive agriculture. Invaluable water resources that he developed will remain part of his legacy. A strong work ethic was inherent in Richard’s personality, which he modeled to family, friends, employees and business associates.
Richard was preceded in death by parents Mimi and Russell Drake. He is survived by his loving wife, Diana; his children: Annie (Jim), Susie (Michael), Cheri (Troy), and Rich (Stephanie); his grandchildren: Kadin (Melanie), Aubri, Adriana, Emma, Kyle, Will, Max, Reece, Diego and Emilia. Numerous cousins, nieces and nephews were also an important part of his life.
The family is grateful for amazing compassion from so many first responders, providers and facilities. Special thanks goes to Dr. Chad Bidart and staff, also to Northern NV Medical Center for their entire spectrum of care.
Per Richard’s instructions, no services are planned. He believed good times were made by good company and would have encouraged friends to spend time with the important people in their lives. If you’d like to make a donation in Richard’s name, please consider The Boys and Girls Club of Winnemucca (1973 Whitworth Way, Winnemucca NV 89445).
He lived life to the fullest, always focused on what truly mattered to him. Richard loved his family. He valued hard work, good times with good friends, and the beauty of northern Nevada. He made a difference in so many people’s lives. We will miss this great man.