Carl Drake, a former CEO and chairman of the former St. Paul Companies, who helped found the Ordway Center in St. Paul, died of congestive heart failure at his Mendota Heights home on July 24. He was 89.
He was the great-grandson of Charles Bigelow, who led the company in the 19th century, when it was St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co.
Drake was captain of the hockey and baseball teams at the St. Paul Academy and Summit School. During World War II, he served as a Navy officer. And from 1973 to 1984, he served as president and CEO of the insurance firm, now merged into Travelers Insurance.
Drake believed a business leader owed much to the community, and he walked that talk, said Doug Leatherdale, another former St. Paul Companies CEO.
"He loved the city," Leath-erdale said. "He had strong feelings" about corporate citizens doing all they can for their community."
As a boss, he gave clear direction and didn't meddle, Leatherdale said.
While Drake led the company, it did very well, and he successfully fought off take-over attempts.
During his tenure, the firm gave a financial boost to the building of the Metrodome, buying $250,000 of the bonds issued for its construction.
He led the United Way of St. Paul for many years, served as chairman of the boards of the Bigelow Foundation, the St. Paul Academy and Summit School and Macalester College.
"He thought that education was the key to making the world a better place," said his son Trevor of Wayne, Pa.
While playing leadership roles at St. Paul Academy, he also worked with students, teaching them about the importance of volunteering.
He worked hard to make the Ordway become a reality, then served as chairman of its board from 1982-88, and stayed on the board until 2006.
"He did it out of his heart," said Chris Sagstetter, the Ordway's vice president and chief financial officer.
Sagstetter said he was an outstanding fundraiser and spoke sparingly but effectively. "He led by his actions. If something needed to be done, he did it."
He graduated from St. Paul Academy in 1937 and Yale University in 1941, with a bachelor's degree in English.
He started as an underwriter for the insurance firm, leaving in 1941 to join the service.
He was a Navy officer aboard a destroyer in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the South Pacific.
He became chairman of the board of the St. Paul Companies in 1977, retired in 1984, and remained on the board until 1988.
His first wife, Frances, died in 1975. His second wife, Charlotte, died in 2006.
In addition to Trevor, he is survived by his other son, Carl Drake of Wausau, Wis.; daughter, Eleanor Drake McLear of Rochester, N.Y.; stepsons Douglas Day of Camden, Maine, and Jeffrey Day of Berkeley, Calif; stepdaughter Sylvia Day of Hillsboro, Ore.; brother Harry Drake of St. Paul; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Av., St. Paul.