NEW MILFORD, N.J. — The funeral service Monday for former New Milford Board of Education President Darren Drake, killed in last week's lower Manhattan terror attack, is expected to draw a massive outpouring of mourners.
Those who knew Drake, 32, as a man of integrity and great kindness reacted to his death with shock, sadness and anger.
"Darren was a good friend," wrote Maximo Paulino of New Milford. "He was honest, kind, driven. He was a man to be admired."
Drake was mowed down along the Hudson River bicycle path next to the West Side Highway by a rented truck driven by a man identified by authorities as Sayfullo Saipov of Paterson.
His funeral service is at 9 a.m. Monday at the Church of the Ascension on Azalea Drive in New Milford, followed by burial in Fairview Cemetery at Fairview Avenue and Bergenwood Road in Fairview.
A project manager at Moody's Investors Service at the World Trade Center, Drake often rode his bike for exercise during lunch, loved ones said.
Frank Papapietro, a former borough police chief now working for a security company at the WTC, often ran into Drake, whom he called a "kind, gentle and respectful young man, a son anyone would be proud of."
"There are no words for his parents, Barbara and Jim, that could be of any comfort," Papapietro said. "May God bless them."
An only child, Drake was graduated from New Milford High School in 2003, after attending the David E. Owens Middle School, and later was graduated from Rutgers University. Drake won a BOE seat in 2009 in New Milford before eventually becoming its president, then stepped down in 2013.
"A friend lost a father, I lost a co worker, and now one of the nicest, happiest people I've ever known was killed by a coward who thought he would see salvation," added Daniel Drew of Dumont. "I'm glad they didn't kill the driver. After he rots in his cell, may he rot in hell."
Seven other victims were killed and more than a dozen injured by Saipov, who was shot by police and taken into custody after he rammed the truck -- rented from a Home Depot in Passaic -- into a school bus at Chambers Street.
Six men, including Drake, were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other victims were pronounced at an area hospital, the NYPD said.
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