Harry Lee Drew


Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Longtime Nikiski resident Harry Lee Drew died Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003, at Our House on the Lake Assisted Living Home in Nikiski. He was 91.

A visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m., followed by funeral services at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at Peninsula Memorial Chapel, 5839 Kenai Spur Highway. A reception will follow at the Nikiski Senior Citizens Center. Interment will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Angelus Memorial Park in Anchorage.

Mr. Drew was born Feb. 26, 1912, at Elliottsville Plantation, Maine, to Edmond and Sadie (Bodfish) Drew. He began his working career in Maine as a logger then as a laborer for the Canadian Pacific Railroad Co. in the late 1920s. He migrated to New York and began his primary vocation as a machinist in the shipbuilding industry prior to the war. He served in the U.S. Army Engineers as a machinist during World War II in Europe. He then worked for Pratt and Whitney aircraft in Connecticut from 1945 to 1953.

Mr. Drew and his first wife, Lin, arrived in Fairbanks in the summer of 1953 and later that year came to the Kenai Peninsula and homesteaded in Nikiski. He worked as a mechanic and machinist at Fort Richardson for a couple of years then returned to the peninsula and worked at the Wildwood Air Force Base until his retirement in 1965.

In the mid-1960s, he and his second wife, Rozella, built a laundromat, which they operated until 1973. After closing the business and selling the property, Mr. Drew began buying and developing real estate to sell as a vocation. He stayed active in this the rest of his life.

Mr. Drew served his community as a Homer Electric Association board member, Community Club officer and president of the original Nikiski Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s. In addition, he served on committees to organize and establish boundaries of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. He was a member of the American Legion Post No. 20 in Kenai and served as post commander for one term. He enjoyed hunting, gold prospecting and exploring Alaska.

"Harry loved both his adopted state of Alaska and the original home of his birth. He loved travel and was able to visit the Orient, Australia and much of the U.S. and shared these stories and descriptions along with his many Alaska adventures. In short Harry was an accomplished storyteller. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends," his family said.

Mr. Drew was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Irene "Lin" Linwood Drew; brothers, Donavan and Chester; and sisters, Sadie Ellen and Lidia "Tiny."

He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Marie Drew, of the Kenai Lake area; and numerous nieces and nephews in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Maine.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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