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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » John Stephen Draper ’71

On March 29, 2021, John Stephen Draper, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away suddenly and peacefully in his sleep at his home in Richfield Springs, NY.

John was born on Aug. 20, 1948, in Memphis, Tennessee.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in Ohio in 1971 after participating in their co-op program and working with the McCarter Theatre at Princeton, the New York Shakespeare Festival, and the U.S. Geological Survey. John also starred in “The Antioch Adventure” (parts I and II), which has been cherished by Antioch students for more than 50 years.

After Antioch, John began his career in the music industry, working for bands like Dr. Hook, Journey, Michael Jackson, and Prince. He capped off his music career by managing Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour, and then he married the love of his life, Cindy, and moved onto the corporate business world.

During his time as a businessman, he was instrumental in mergers and acquisitions and held positions such as CEO and VP of marketing for several companies, including Landmark General, At-A-Glance, MeadWestvaco and ACCO Brands.

John retired in late 2013 and, while he enjoyed the slow pace of retirement, he was always highly intelligent and still liked to challenge himself. After retiring, he spent his time doing consulting work for friends and revisiting his old passion of theater. He spent the summer months doing shows at the Glimmer Globe Theatre in Cooperstown, and especially enjoyed performing in Shakespeare plays.

In addition to being a thespian, John was a dedicated runner, avid reader, political enthusiast, and lifelong music lover. He was a human rights advocate and had a fantastic sense of humor.

He used his diverse and extensive life experiences to become a well-rounded leader and mentor to all who knew him, and will forever be remembered for his compassionate, empathetic spirit.

John was predeceased by his parents, Jim and Virginia Draper of Memphis, Tennessee; and is mourned by his beloved wife, Cindy Zickmund Draper; daughters, Natalie Draper of North Windham, Connecticut, Joanna Draper of Richfield Springs and Savanah Puckett of West Fork, Arkansas; sister, Judy Draper of Greenfield, Massachusetts; and brother, Bob Draper of Taos, New Mexico. He had five grandchildren; six nieces and nephews and countless friends all over the world, and will be dearly missed by all.