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George Drake died peacefully in Bellingham on August 31 at the age of 90.
George had a global vision and always saw things from an international perspective. He was a citizen of the world and had a deep love for Bellingham. He was an active participant in community affairs all his life. More recently George was the founder of Sculpture Northwest.
In his last month George saw the completion and progress of his last two projects. The David Marshall Sculpure Gallery at Big Rock Garden Park and, his last gift to the City of Bellingham, “Angel de la Creatividad” a sculpture by world famous sculptor Sebastian of Mexico City.
He led a life of adventure and service. He was born and raised on the New Jersey shore in 1930. He left by bicycle at age 18 for South America, a trip that began his love affair with Latin America. After working in the jungles of Panama he returned to the US and enlisted in the US Army at the outbreak of the Korean War. .
He received his BA and MA at the University of California at Berkeley and entered the US Foreign Service and went with his wife, Mary Ann, and son David, to Colombia, South America. There he served as Director of the United States Information Agency cultural center in the city of Manizales. On his he obtained his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Wisconsin. In 1967 he and his family moved to Bellingham to take a position at Western Washington University.
George served on scores of boards, committees, commissions and councils at the local, regional and state level. His academic specialty was community systems analysis and voluntarism.
With his wife and sons he created Big Rock Garden Nursery and developed Gardens of Art, an outdoor gallery of fine art for the garden. He created the Big Rock Garden Sculpture Committee of the City Park and Recreation Advisory Board and developed a major sculpture garden for the Pacific Northwest in Big Rock Garden Park.
In 1998 he began planning the Korean War Children’s Memorial as one of the activities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. The memorial, in the form of a large Korean pavilion symbolizing shelter, honors the American GI’s humanitarian aid to the children of Korea during the war years and later. That memorial, dedicated in 2003, is located in Big Rock Garden Park. George also created the Korean War Children’s Memorial in Korea which was dedicated in the Peace Park at the DMZ in 2010.
An expanded story of George’s life can be found at www.georgefdrake.org.
Plans are being made for a ‘social gathering’ at Bellingham Bar and Grill to swap tales about George. If you would like to be included please Email.
Price Sculpture Forest is a new sculpture park that is encouraging Sculpture Northwest members to exhibit their outdoor sculptures year-round for exhibition to the public. The park is located in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, spread across 16 forested acres overlooking Penn Cove. Construction is underway now, with a soft opening for the public around August and a second official opening next year. The park has two loop trails that wander through dense native habitat, interspersed with prime viewing locations for sculptures embedded within the forest to delight and educate visitors.
To encourage the best work from the sculptors, for early participants Sculpture Forest is offering zero commission, insurance paid, no entry fee, and marketing. There are two initial exhibition themes: Nature Nurtured (relating to the natural world, elements, living things, or our relationship to them) and Whimsy Way (fun, interesting, humorous, or unique). More information can be seen about the park at SculptureForest.org plus on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.