Close your eyes, imagine your best self - what you could be if you allowed your God-given gifts to fully shine - and then feel a young man's strong arms lifting you up over his head as he is cheering you on. That is Drake Maxwell Tester, born to earthly life on July 17, 2000, and born to eternal life on March 26, 2017.
Drake shared love, joy and good cheer with every person that he met in his life-filled 16 years, starting with his parents, Craig and Becky Tester; his sister, Madeline Begley; and his brother, Jack Begley. Drake then cheered on his grandmothers, Eleanor Tester and Ruth Raulin; his grandfathers who greeted him in heaven, Robert Tester and Richard Raulin; his aunt and uncles, Scott Tester, Eric Tester and Pam and Gary Klotzbach; his cousins, Megen, Nathan, Marley and Miles Kassuba, Amber, Cele and Sofia Muniz, Cory and Tyler Tester, Sarah, Alex, Asher and Miles Wood, and Thomas Klotzbach; all of his larger family; all of his friends at Traverse City Central High School and elsewhere, including special friends, Izzi McGuire, Athena Sanchez, Liam Schuler, Megan Gudith and Kyle Sudheimer; Rose Bower, who was like family to him; his Water's Edge Cheer teammates; his cross-country teammates; his track teammates; his fellow choir members; all of those looking to solve the mysteries of Oak Island; and the very old, the very young and all of those in-between.
Drake had an instant rapport with everyone he met because he spoke the universal languages of love, kindness and humor infused with a genuine zest for life. Drake had a wisdom beyond his years in placing priorities on his family and friends. Although he traveled extensively, he was completely at home playing a family game. Drake saw - and lived - truths that many of us after decades never learn: to live every moment to its fullest, to find your passions and to follow them, to always give 100 percent, to be true to yourself, to treat everyone equally, to look at what is inside a person instead of what is on the outside and to realize that a hug can speak volumes. Drake gave great hugs!
Drake was someone who saw the best in all of us despite our flaws; the only flaw that we ever saw in him as he grew into a young man with the strength of Achilles was that he was born with a seizure disorder that - even though it only appeared once every few years for a few minutes - was the ultimate cause of his death.
A celebration of Drake's earthly life will be led by Dr. Gary Hogue and Pastor Chad Oyer at the First Congregational Church of Traverse City, 6105 Center Road, on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 2 p.m., with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. Dress as you please.
Knowing Drake, the best gift that you could give in his memory would be to strive to fully use the talents that God has given you to become more like His son, Jesus Christ: to love unconditionally - and to be more kind, more caring, more giving, more cheerful and more full of hope, light and life.
If a gift beyond that is wished, then the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, 161 Ottawa Ave., SW, Suite 211, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (www.epilepsymichigan.org), the Traverse City Central Athletic Boosters, 1150 Milliken Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686 (www.tctrojanpride.com/donate) or the Traverse City Music Boosters, c/o Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, 250 E. Front St., Suite 310, Traverse City, MI 49684 (www.gtrcf.org) might be considered.
Please share your memories and thoughts at Drake's tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on  April 2, 2017