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Joe C. Drake Jr.

Aug 21, 2012 Staff

Joe C. Drake Jr. died of mesothelioma Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, at his home in Riverton. He was 86 years old.

A viewing will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Aspen Park Ward, at North Fourth and Elizabeth streets. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. in the same building, with Bishop Martin Devries Jr. officiating. Burial will follow with the dedication of the grave at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander.

Joe Clinton Drake Jr. was born May 5, 1926, on Drake's Branch Road, Davidson County, Tenn., to Joe Clinton Drake and Winnie Uree McGlothlin. He had one sister, Ettie, and two brothers, Henry and John.

He graduated from high school in May 1944 and immediately left for the U.S. Navy. He received his boot camp training at Camp Perry, Va., then went to Amphibious Warfare and Rocket School. He served in the Pacific War Zone on the Landing Craft LCSL 3-94. He was released six months after Japan surrendered.

He returned to Tennessee and farmed for a while. When the Korean War broke out, he went back into the Navy and was assigned to the APA Bexar Ship. He was honorably released both times he served.

He was a lifetime member of the VFW Post 6125 in Hudson. He served for many years as the chaplain of Post 18 of the American Legion in Kearny, Ariz.

In 1952 he went to Arizona to work for the Kennecott Copper Company. When they cut back on employees in 1954 he went to Fairbanks, Alaska, and worked on the gold dredges. He took flying lessons and purchased a Piper J-3 plane with skis and floats. His family said he had a lot of fun with this plane. He returned to Arizona in 1956 and spent the next 20 years at Kennecott Copper. In 1976 he was transferred to a coal mine in Kayenta, Ariz. In November 1977 he moved his family to Rawlins where he worked for a Uranium Mine, retiring in 1990.

In 1962 he married Elizabeth Wanda Freeman in the Mesa, Ariz., temple. They had one son and three daughters. Mr. Drake was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many positions from teacher, secretary and president of quorums to serving in the Saratoga Wyoming Ward Bishopric.

From April 1992 to October 1993, he and his wife served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dallas Texas Temple. They also served from 1994 to 1995 in the Denver temple and from 2001 to 2003 in the Ogden, Utah, temple.

His family said he enjoyed visiting his family, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family. He loved the outdoors and hunting, fishing, taking care of his yard, working in his shop, working in his garden and traveling off-road to explore the country. They said he loved the dogs he had throughout the years and last a little cat that followed his every step when he worked in the yard.

Survivors include his wife, Wanda; son Joe F. and wife Julie of Gilbert, Ariz.; three daughters, Laurie and Jim Ogden of Craig, Colo., Debbie and Vince Irene of Lander and Linda and Raul Amparan of Chandler, Ariz.; sister Ettie and Aaron Grassland of Kearny, Ariz.; sister-in-law Emily Drake in Florida; 18 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother and two brothers.

An online guest book is available at

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