Drake, William Walker Age 85, passed away peacefully June 15, 2012. Born October 12, 1926, Bill was adopted at birth by William and Hazel Drake. He was soon joined by his sister, Joan, and his brother, Robert. He attended East Aurora High School in Aurora, IL and then enlisted in the United States Navy where in 1944 he served in World War II. Beautiful Barbara Ruhn caught his eye and they were married June 5, 1948 and shared 55 years together. They had three children, Anthony, Jacqueline, and Jeffrey. The family lived in Aurora and later in Montgomery. Bill had a career in sales, culminating with his retirement from MetLife. Bill was an outstanding percussionist and jazz enthusiast. He played in jazz trios and Bob Ryland's Big Band at such landmarks as the historic Leland Hotel in Aurora IL. He took special pride and pleasure in playing with the Joliet American Legion Band for many years. Bill was a big fan of the Fighting Illini, and liked nothing better than a great party. Need we say how much he enjoyed teasing and playing with his grandchildren. He will be greatly missed. Bill is preceded in death by his son, Tony; his wife, Barbara; and his brother, Robert. He is survived by his daughter, Jackie (John) Macdonald; son, Jeff (Gloria) Drake; and his sister, Joan Drake; grandchildren are Barbara (Paul) Franks, Patricia Drake, John (Nicole) Drake, Brett Simpson, Deanna Drake, Elliot Drake, and Megan Macdonald. He is also remembered by his much-loved daughter-in-law, Candice (Drake) Schuster and great granddaughter, Mackenzie. A special thanks to his domestic partner, Caroleen Wierzbicki for her care and support. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
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Published in Beacon News on June 20, 2012