Irving George Stake was born July 23, 1917 in Worcester, the only child of the late George and Selma (Gullberg) Stake. Having grown up in the Swedish neighborhood of Worcester, Quinsigamond Village, his father like most other men in the village worked at American Steel & Wire. His dad, George, enjoyed the nickname “Spike” and it became Irving's. Like men born in his generation he honorably served his country in the United States Army during World War II in the 849th Signal Intelligence Service and served in North Africa and Italy.
While stationed at Camp Crowder in Joplin, Missouri following his return from overseas, he met the love of his life, Lavena Jo Mabry. They were married March 17, 1945 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They returned to Massachusetts and moved to Shrewsbury in 1956. Jo died Jan. 20, 1993.
Spike worked as a bus driver for the Shortline both before and after World War II and was known by many as the “singing bus driver,” entertaining passengers as he drove. For most of his professional career he worked as an operations manager for Northeast Airlines at the Worcester Airport and for Delta Airlines in both Worcester and at Logan in Boston before retiring in 1980.
Spike enjoyed woodcarving and took classes for over 20 years at the Wooden Apple. An avid New England sports enthusiast he bragged about having been around long enough for the Red Sox to have won four World Series. He was a longtime member of First Congregational Church and served on its Board of Deacons.
He leaves his daughter, Debra A. Stake and her fiancé, Rob Mertzlufft of Shrewsbury.
Family and friends will honor and remember Spike's life by gathering for calling hours Tuesday, June 3, from 6 – 8 p.m., at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors ~ The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury, and again Wednesday, June 4 at the First Congregational Church, 19 Church Rd., Shrewsbury, where his funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow in All Faiths Cemetery, Worcester.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Spike's name may be made to Veterans Inc., 69 Grove St., Worcester, MA 01605.