1949 ~ 2018
Drake Niven, long-time Lake Tahoe contractor, died November 7th, 2018 of a heart attack during surgery at Carson-Tahoe Medical Center. He was 69.
He was well known in the local building community and built custom homes all around the lake. Drake was also instrumental in helping friends and neighbors re-build their homes after the Angora Fire. He just recently retired from building due to health issues.
Theater was his favorite pastime and later became his avocation, and he built more than 100 sets for a wide variety of plays performed at Western Nevada Community College, South Tahoe High School, Lake Tahoe Community College and Valhalla Theatre. The sets became more elaborate as the years went on, resulting in many memorable productions. He enjoyed working with the students and became a mentor to many who helped at the theater.
Born in Englewood, N.J., on August 2, 1949, he grew up in Claremont, California, where his father taught at Claremont Graduate School.
Niven attended Prescott College in Arizona and worked in various jobs before becoming a contractor. After college he operated California T-shirts in Laguna Beach, California with artist Ken Auster.
He lived in Sonora, California for many years where he worked in the building industry. He moved to Lake Tahoe in 1987 and worked for a time in partnership with Bill Olin and Phil Smith before starting his own business.
He is survived by his wife, Nannette, his sons Ethan and Alec, and a sister Katherine Niven. He was preceded in death by his parents William John Niven and Elizabeth (Thomson) Niven.
A Celebration of Drake Niven’s Life will be held at South Tahoe High School in the TADA Theatre Saturday, November 17th at 1:00 p.m.
Donations can be made to the STHS Performing Arts Booster’s Association (PABA).