The hometown of Saskatchewan's flag is reeling from Wednesday's news that its creator has passed away.

Gail Hapanowicz was shocked when she received word from Joan (Anthony Drake's wife) via email regarding his death.

"I'm sad for their family over there [in England], I wish I could be there," she said. "On top of Saskatchewan losing a man who created a legacy, I've lost a friend, a good friend." 

Their friendship was created seven years ago when Hapanowicz discovered Drake had never been officially recognized as the province's flag crafter.

"Why didn't anyone reach out to him in 47 years, it baffles me," she stated. "I'm not even from this province, I'm from Montreal... I'm just amazed that nobody did anything for 47 years." 

Drake finally received 'proper' recognition in May of 2016 as he returned to Saskatchewan to join many provincial dignitaries and Hapanowicz on a three-week tour.

"I'm very proud that we did that and I'm honoured that we did that," she said. 

"I don't know when, many years ago, in the 1900s something, he was at Trafalgar Square with a friend and they were standing in front of Canada House with all the flags for all the provinces, he looked up and said I designed that flag," she described. "His friend said 'no you didn't', he said 'yah I did, I designed that flag', and his friend said 'you don't have any proof you designed that flag, you didn't design it'. That story broke my heart."        

The former Hodgeville teacher from the late 1960s has sent Hapanowicz a pile of memorabilia the last several years since the two have connected allowing the latter to craft a commemorative wall at Hodgeville Skool Inn.

"I often feel that it was fate that we ended up in Saskatchewan and we ended up in this Skool Inn and then found out the history," she explained. "I think that's why we moved here."