Marian Drake

Marian Joyce Drake

Tuesday, February 15th, 1927 - Saturday, June 27th, 2020
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Born on February 15, 1927 in Alton Illinois to Paul and Amelia. Marian, her sister Jeanne, and her mother soon moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where her mother soon enrolled in a New Deal-era job training program. Marian graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1945, and Arizona State College in 1950, with a degree in Social Work.

Family being always at the center of her life, Marian soon moved to San Diego to be near her uncle Gene Geil. She soon met and married Lee Charles Drake, with a ceremony in La Jolla in 1953. Marian and Lee soon settled in Clairemont and were blessed with their first child Debbie. After moving to Lemon Grove, they decided to expand their family, adopting Michelle and Celeste. The family finally settled in El Cajon in 1975. Marian loved living in their home in the hills, which boasted expansive views, green trees, and good neighbors who became good friends.

Marian worked as a probation officer her entire career, working with juveniles for a time before settling into the adult division. She retired in 1988 after nearly 40 years with San Diego County, but even that wasn’t enough. She went on to become a volunteer in the probation department, eventually earning a VIP (Volunteers in Probation) Volunteer of the Year Award.

She survived many hardships and tragedies in her 93 years, including the death of her beloved daughter Michelle in 1990. She faced each challenge with strength and fortitude, never wishing to rely on others—even though many would have gladly helped shoulder her burden.

She was an avid reader, knitter, windchime collector, and ceramic hobbyist. She loved the ocean (though more for looking at it than going into it), the beach, the forest, and the great outdoors in general. She enjoyed traveling (even if it meant she had to fly), learning history, playing canasta, and visiting with friends. She loved dogs, but hated to train them.

Beloved by her friends and family, and with a wry sense of humor, she was quick with a smile and would offer guests not only food and drink, but the shirt off her back. Acquaintances soon became friends, and her generosity knew no bounds. Her greatest joy in life was caring for and spending time with her family.

She is survived by her daughters Deborah Drake of San Diego and Celeste Drake of Los Angeles; her grandchildren Anthony Caughlin of El Cajon and Sarah Soto of San Diego; Sarah’s wife Jennifer Phelps; and her great grandchildren Lucianna and Abigail Phelps.

She will be deeply missed.

An Internment Ceremony will be held at the Meditative Garden of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 6556 Park Ridge Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92120 on July 11, 2020 at 9:00 A.M., Pacific Daylight Time. Due to COVID-19 limitations, in-person attendance will be limited to immediate family only. Extended family and friends are invited to join via zoom, using this link:

Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to St. Dunstan’s Memorial Fund ( or to the Alzheimer’s Association ( The family is hopeful that pandemic conditions will allow for an in-person remembrance to honor Marian’s extraordinary life in 2021.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 | 9:00am
    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 9:00am
    St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church
    6556 Park Ridge Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Due to COVID-19 limitations, in-person attendance will be limited to immediate family only. Extended family and friends are invited to join via zoom, using this link:
  • Interment

    St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church
    6556 Park Ridge Blvd.
    Sn Diego, CA 92120
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Raquel Murillo and Will Ahrens sent flowers to the family of Marian Joyce Drake.
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Lee Kirk

Posted at 03:22pm
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Celeste Drake Posted at 07:01pm

Thank you so much, Lee. We really appreciate it.

Marilyn Kistler Ackerly

Posted at 12:27pm
I am so thankful for my friendship with Marian for 46 years. It all started as neighbors at Hidden Mesa Estates. She is truly a dear friend of mine. Blessings to her wonderful family. Hugs, Marilyn Kistler Ackerly

Celeste Drake Posted at 07:02pm

Marilyn, thank you for your kind words and for being her friend.

Laurie Patterson

Posted at 12:52pm
I've known Mrs. Drake since I went to high school with Celeste. She was one of the most welcoming people I knew, always happy to see you and ask how you were doing. Two distinct memories I have of her was first, she always asked me to call her Marian (not Mrs. Drake) and second, she invited me to come use her pool whenever I wanted, saying she wanted people to enjoy it, even if she or Celeste were not around. Who does that? Marian does that. My prayers go out to Celeste and her family. I know how much she will be missed.

Celeste Drake Posted at 07:03pm

Thank you Laurie for the kind tribute. Great memories! And thanks for being my friend.

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 12:25am
Celeste - With the same warmth and selflessness your mom lived her life, we send you thoughts of comfort and peace. May Mrs. Drake rest in peace.
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Todd Curry

Posted at 08:38pm
I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet her! She was a lovely, lovely woman, and I still fondly remember the dinner I had with her over 10 years ago in DC. Her daughter Celeste is one of my favorite people on the planet. I am sending all my love and good wishes to the Drake family on the loss of this very special lady.

Celeste Drake Posted at 10:48am

Todd, thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad you got to meet her too! I’m so glad you’re my friend and I miss you.

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