Obituary: Philip Meurer Drake


Philip Drake

Philip Meurer Drake passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. He is survived by his daughters, Anne, Kathleen, Margaret (Todd Vallely), and Susan Holly, (Todd Sylvestri.) Philip had three grandchildren, Kathleen Grosse, Ross and Kevin Sylvestri and two great-grandchildren, Annabella and Michael Morrell. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Drake Burr (Prentice Burr) of Atlanta, Ga.

Philip was born on June 10, 1925 in Flushing New York to Joseph and Florence Drake. His wife, Susan, his brother, Joseph Drake, and his sisters, Joan Nichols and Mary McFeely, predeceased him.

Philip graduated from Phillips Academy in 1943 and later went to earn his B.A. from Yale College in 1948 and his J.D. from The University of Virginia Law School in 1951. He began his legal career with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York in 1951 and 2 years later was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York where he served from 1953 to 1955. In April 1955, he joined Cummings and Lockwood in Stamford, CT. There, he served as managing partner from 1978 through 1987 and mentored generations of lawyers at the firm. He specialized in trusts and estates and personal tax work until his retirement in April 2018. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Drake had been actively involved in civic and community affairs, including serving on the Board of the Peterson Foundation, supporting the Greenwich Library. He was a former Trustee and Director of the Greenwich Hospital Association, The Putnam Trust Company, and the Charles E. Culpepper Foundation. He served as an honorary Trustee of the University of Virginia Law School Foundation.

A devout Catholic, Philip dedicated 48 years of service to the Saint Thomas More Catholic Center at Yale University where he participated in the creation of The Thomas Golden Center. Philip helped establish St. Michael the Archangel Church in 1963. In addition, he established the Drake Catholic Ministry Foundation at Phillips Academy, which enables Andover students to develop and practice their Catholic faith.

Philip gave credit to his years at Andover for inspiring him to develop leadership skills. He often admitted that while he may have had a failing grade or two, he learned the importance of philanthropy and took the school’s motto, “Non Sibi,” Not for Self, very seriously. An Alumni Board member, Philip continued to actively support Andover until his death.

Philip’s special talents for organization and leadership have long been recognized in the Town of Greenwich where he served with distinction on the Board of Estimate and Taxation from1964 to 1978, the last eight years as its Chairman.

A wide variety of civic activities in Greenwich include serving on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club; he was a co founder of the Republican Round Table and of The Whitby School. Philip was an original member of the Greenwich “Townies,” which started as an investment club. Years later, they abandoned that mission but continued their monthly dinners. Phil attended his last meeting in November. 

Philip was a member of Blind Brook, Round Hill Club, Greenwich Field Club, The Kittansett Club in Marion, Mass. and Hole in the Wall in Naples, Fla.

Philip loved playing tennis and squash with his daughters and became a passionate golfer until he was 91 years old. He shot his age many times, the first time on his 75th birthday at the Kittansett Club.

He leaves behind a profound legacy of Faith, Discipline and Love. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Drake Catholic Ministry Foundation at Phillips Academy. Checks can be made out to the Trustees of Phillips Academy, noting the Foundation, and sent to Phillips Academy, 180 Main Street, Andover, MA  01810.

Visitation will be held on Friday, Feb. 1 at Gallagher & Sons Funeral Home, 31 Arch Street. Greenwich CT from 5 to 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m. at St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, 469 North St., Greenwich.

PLEASE NOTE: The Greenwich Sentinel will be doing a feature story on Philip Drake in next week’s issue. Please look for it there and if you have any stories, thoughts or photos, please reach out to us at Editor@GreenwichSentinel.com

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