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Emory Lee Drake
June 18, 1920 ~ July 22, 2022 (age 102) 102 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Emory and share your memory.
Emory Lee Drake (102) passed away peacefully at his apartment in Napa on July 22, 2022. Emory Lee was born June 18, 1920 at home in Eureka, MT and moved to Oakland, CA in 1923 with his parents. Lee started work at Mare Island Navy Yard as an apprentice shipfitter in January, 1941 and married Natalie Smialkowski (deceased June 5, 2018) on May 3, 1942. Lee was drafted into the Army on June 9, 1942 and served in the 376th Harbor Craft Company in the Asiatic Pacific Theater including Dutch and British New Guinea, Biak, the Philippine Islands, and occupation duty at Nagoya and Kobe, Japan. Lee was honorably discharged May 15, 1946 and returned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he completed his apprenticeship as a journeyman shipfitter. He was promoted to various positions on the shipyard including Nuclear Material Manager (500N) for the shipyard. Lee retired June 30, 1974 with thirty-three years and six months service.
Lee's wife of 76 years was also a WW II Veteran. Natalie served in the United States Marine Corps from February 1944 to April 1946.
Lee is survived by his brother, Burgess Drake of Lacey, WA; and his two children: Susan (Tom) Walsh of Rolling Hills Estates, CA and Kenzia (Mickey) Drake of Napa; five grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren.
In 2019 Lee made the Honor Flight for veterans to Washington, DC to tour the memorials, including the WWII Memorial. He was the oldest veteran on the trip (99) and was selected to present the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. He felt that this was absolutely one of the greatest honors of his life.
Lee was a very gentle man and never uttered a harsh word. His favorite saying was, "Take one day at a time and do the best you can do on that day."
His celebration of life will be a Catholic Mass on August 9, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Apollinaris Catholic Church, 3700 Lassen Street, Napa, CA followed by a reception in the church hall. Private burial will be at All Souls Cemetery in Vallejo, CA.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Salvatorians - Society of the Divine Savior (www.salvatorians.com) or St. Anthony's Foundation (www.stanthonysf.org) or Bay Area Honor Flight (www.honorflightbayarea.org) or the charity of your choice.