Frank Drea, former chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission, died Wednesday at the age of 69 after a lengthy illness.
Drea, a native of Canada raised in Buffalo, N.Y., became an award-winning reporter for the defunct Telegram
who was known for toughness and flamboyance. He entered politics in 1971 and further enhanced his reputation as a fighter for the underdog while serving as a Progressive Conservative MPP representing Scarborough Center.
In 1977, then premier Bill Davis appointed Drea to his cabinet, where he served as Minister of Correctional Services, Consumer and Commercial Relations and Community and Social Services. During his time in office, Drea often commented that he was the only cabinet member who regularly read the Daily Racing Form
When Frank Miller became premier in 1985, Drea left the cabinet, then was named chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission, a position he held over the next decade.
Drea is survived by Jeanne, his wife of 48 years; three children, and six grandchildren. Services are scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church in Scarborough, Ontario.