JOHN ERNEST ALEXANDER CRAKE was born in 1911 in Toronto, his father a master at Upper Canada College. For the first half of his life he pursued an education, first at Trinity College in the University of Toronto where he received a Bachelor's Degree, Honours in Classics, in 1933; at Oxford at St. John's College (B.A. 1935, M.A. 1939); and finally at Johns Hopkins where in 1939 he was awarded the Doctorate in Philosophy in Latin. Then came full-time application of his learning to teaching, a lectureship in Classics at Dartmouth College, followed by a year as master at Trinity College School, Port Hope. But teaching had to give way to war, and in 1942 he entered the Canadian Intelligence Corps and served as an officer until 1946.
The second period of Ernest Crake's life began in 1946 when he came to Sackville to join the faculty of Mount Allison University in the Department of Classics, becoming Josiah Wood Professor and Head in 1947 and remaining so until 1975. During these almost thirty years, Dr. Crake was selfless in his willingness to serve his University, not only as a well-remembered teacher and careful scholar, but also as Secretary of the Senate and member of the Board of Regents. Beyond the University, he accepted leading roles in the Classical Association of Canada and its periodical Phoenix, being President of the Association and member of the Editorial Committee. He also supported the work of the Humanities Research Council of Canada, being on its governing body and Publications Committee. In 1975 Dr. Crake retired from active teaching and was named Professor Emeritus in 1976. That same year he established The Crake Institute, one of whose objects is "to make funds available for work in the humanities at Mount Allison."
The Board of Directors of the Institute was set up by Dr. Crake to include himself, three friends, and two nominees of the University. Even during his lifetime substantial sums were made available for distribution by the Institute; following his death in the summer of 1983 the Institute became fully operational. The first project initiated by the Board was the annual Crake Lectureship in Ancient History and Classical Studies, and this series of yearly lectures by distinguished classicists was inaugurated on March 5, 1979, with the Institute's founder happily in attendance. Then followed the establishment of the Crake Scholarships for a number of students in the Humanities in their junior or senior year, and awards to support the research of members of the faculty in the Humanities and of undergraduates during the summer. The Institute has also made special donations to the Library for the purchase of books and has established the Crake Doctoral Fellowship to be held at Mount Allison in the Department of Classics. In these and other activities, the Crake Institute has remembered that Dr. Crake's interests, though centered in the Classics, were wide-ranging, and that his life was devoted to the support of his discipline, profession, and institution.