Velma Jean Drake

Velma Jean (Robinson) Drake, 94, of Sheridan, passed away on Sept. 5, 2019 at Westview Healthcare Center. Per her request, there will be no services.

She was born on June 18, 1925, the only child of Maurice and Florence Robinson, in Sheridan, with the assistance of a midwife. She and her parents lived at Fort Mackenzie until she was 8 years old, when her father purchased and built a gas station on Powder River just east of the junction to Arvada. Velma attended and graduated from the Arvada schools, often riding her horse down the river to get to school. World War II was going on upon her graduation. She took a train to Billings, Montana, where she was trained as a Western Union Telegraph operator. After she completed her training, she went to Los Angeles and worked for Western Union until the end of the war.

She met her husband, Darrell Drake, through his sister, who had also worked for Western Union. Darrell was a U.S. Marine returned from the war. They married in Crow Agency, Montana, on May 10, 1947, and lived in Crow Agency, Garryowen and Lodge Grass, Montana, before moving to Wyoming to the ranch they lived and worked on for the next 43 years until they sold it and retired in 1995. Velma and Darrell raised four children on a dry land place farming and ranching. It was a great place to grow up.

Velma’s hobbies included photo albums. That interest in history and photos was a great asset to all the work that she, other ladies in the community and their husbands did putting together a history book of the Arvada/Spotted Horse/Wild Horse Powder River area. Thank God they did, otherwise the history is lost.

She loved the farming and ranching life and thought that it was the only worthwhile profession. Watching the Broncos play football gave her heart attacks, but she faithfully followed the team.

She is survived by her four children, Barbara Fisgus of Billings, Montana, Marilyn (Tom) Howard of Gillette, Leslie (Cajean) Drake of Arvada, Lester (Bonnie) Drake of Buffalo; nine grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and two grandsons, Stephen and Todd.

She very much appreciated the Sheridan Senior Center Mini-Bus. They provided a valuable service to her.

Velma will be interred at the Custer National Cemetery in Montana at a later date.

Online condolences may be written at www.championfh.com. Champion Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.