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In memoriam: Dr. Nick Drakos dies at 73

Dr. Nick Drakos

Nick was born Sept. 17, 1948, in Toledo, Ohio, to Ruth and Tony Drake. Proud of his Greek heritage, Nick legally changed his name back to the original family name of Drakos when he was a teenager.

He graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin. He then enrolled in medical school at the University of Cincinnati, earning his M.D. in 1979. After three years as a radiology resident, he  decided psychiatry was his passion and completed his training in psychiatry at the University of Louisville in 1987.

Nick then started his 28-year career in community psychiatry as director of in-patient psychiatry at Life Spring Community Mental Health in Jeffersonville, Ind. Moving with his partner, Carole Morse, in 1989, to the Pacific Northwest, Nick practiced psychiatry at the Garlington Center in Northeast Portland, at Clackamas County Mental Health and finally at NARA (the Native American Rehabilitation Association) in Portland, retiring in 2015.

Nick was an expert woodworker. In his younger years, he built custom wooden boats in Ithaca, N.Y.; the first Bread & Circus natural food grocery stores in Boston; theatre sets at Actors Theatre in Louisville; and tongue and groove furniture.

When he and Carole purchased their 1910 home in Northwest Portland in 1990, Nick put his skills to work, transforming it into a whimsically curated comfortable home. He reveled in giving tours of the house to guests, telling them stories of each precious item, including many fish and bird sculptures; and most importantly, his impressive collection of vintage lamps and chandeliers, because “proper lighting creates the ideal ambience.”

His collection of jazz recordings was extensive. His favorite musician was Bix Beiderbecke. Nick liked Bix so much that he named two cats after him and called his home Bixwood Manor. “Be salubrious, not lugubrious” was his motto. 

FFRF is deeply grateful to Nick after being notified of a bequest of about $1 million.