A funeral Mass for Father John P. Drab was celebrated Tuesday morning, July 7, at St. Andrew Church, 122 Division St., Sag Harbor. Father Drab, who died Wednesday July 1, was 95.
Born June 29, 1920 in Oyster Bay, the son of Bohemian immigrants, Father Drab and his three brothers and two sisters grew up on an estate that his father worked on in Mill Neck. He was an altar boy at St. Dominic in nearby Oyster Bay, where he also attended the parish school.
“The priests were my heroes,” he told TLIC during an interview for his 60th anniversary in 2006, and when two different Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters who taught at the school suggested he might have a calling to the priesthood, he began to think about it.
Ordained June 15, 1946, at St. James Pro-Cathedral in Brooklyn, Father Drab served that summer as chaplain at Camp Claver in Wading River, where had worked several summers as a counselor. In September of 1946 he was assigned to Our Holy Redeemer Parish in Freeport. Seven years later, he returned to the chaplaincy of the Wading River facility, which had by then been transformed into Little Flower Children’s Services. For two years while at Little Flower, he also served as temporary administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Wading River, before being assigned to St. Andrew in Sag Harbor in 1960.
From 1969-1976, he served as administrator of St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, before becoming pastor in 1976. After two years he was called back to Sag Harbor as pastor of St. Andrew’s. He later served for 10 years as associate pastor of SS. Philip and James, St. James, before retiring in 1994.
“There is nothing I can say negative about the priesthood,” Father Drab told TLIC in 2006. “You know you are serving God and serving people.”
Burial was in St. Andrew’s Cemetery.