In Loving Memory

Dorene Joanne Drake

Dorene Joanne Drake
January 6, 1940
October 19, 2022
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Dorene Joanne Drake, 82, peacefully went home to the Lord October 19, 2022, at a hospital in College Station, Texas, but was a resident of Brenham at the time.

She was born January 6, 1940 in Wichita, Kansas, the first child of Clifford and Beatta Totten Drake. In 1947 the family moved to Phillips, Texas, where Cliff had taken an engineering job with Phillips Petroleum. Dorene started school in Kansas for one semester, then went to Phillips schools until she graduated in 1957 as valedictorian. Dorene graduated from Texas Technological College in 1961 with a degree in home economics and early childhood education. One of the highlights of her college years was the semester Dorene spent in Detroit at the Merrill Palmer Institute for Child and Family Development, the school that developed the philosophy and national standards for the Head Start Program.

Dorene moved to Houston and began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at Will Rogers Elementary. After earning a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Houston, she began working in Spring ISD at Smith and Jenkins Elementary schools. Dorene was an educator for over 40 years.

February 2, 2008 Dorene married Ernest Knipp in Houston. They had dated 35 years earlier. Though their married life lasted only 6 years, they made each other happy.

Dorene was predeceased by her parents, Cliff and Betty Drake, brother David Drake, sister-in-law Irene Rzepka Drake, and husband, Ernest Knipp. She is survived by sister Jan Herbst and husband Fritz, nieces and nephew Kristi Herbst Kincaid (Chad), Sarah Drake Maxcey (Jeff), Karl Herbst (Mary Katherine Brown), Karen Herbst Tass (David), great nieces and nephews Luke Maxcey, Katie Herbst, Lauren Maxcey, Gareth Kincaid, Grace Herbst, Emily Herbst, Karis Kincaid, Joey Herbst, Carter Tass, Caitlin Tass, and many loving friends.

Dorene loved her family, her church, books, theater, museums, travel, crocheting, and helping others. In her church work she did everything from teaching Sunday School, being a deacon, preparing meals, playing handbells, making fleece blankets for donation to being her church’s financial secretary.

For over 50 years Dorene had season tickets to the Alley Theater in Houston. She also had season tickets to Theater Under the Stars, and Houston Broadway Series for many years. She loved sharing theater and other live performances with friends and family. She was a member of the Houston Zoo, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and Houston Museum of Natural Science. She remembered when the Museum of Natural Science was nothing more than a dinosaur bone at the zoo. She was also a lifetime member of Piney Woods Garden Club, and a member of Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1963 Dorene and a friend traveled around the world. Dorene volunteered in so many places: libraries, MANNA of Houston, Houston Area Retired Teachers, and more.

If you would like to make a donation in her memory, consider any PBS station or Channel 8 in Houston, a food pantry or Bread Partners of Washington County (PO Box 1202, Brenham 77833), Unity Theater of Brenham, Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library, or First United Methodist Church Brenham.

There will be a memorial service on October 28, at 11:00 at First United Methodist Church Brenham.

Services are in the care of Brenham Memorial Chapel, 2300 Stringer St., Brenham, TX 77833. 979.836.3611 Memories may be shared at