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Bill Drake, grocer, gun shop owner and county commissioner, dies at age 79

William T. “Bill” Drake, a Henderson County native and lifelong resident who served on the Board of Commissioners from 1978 until 1990, including eight years as chair, died Saturday, March 19, at Pardee Hospital after a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma. He was 79.

Drake passed peacefully into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ surrounded by family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Louia Brevard and Mary Gladys Drake, and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth O. Leslie.

Drake received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Gov. James B. Martin on Nov. 21, 1990, as he was leaving his third term on the Board of Commissioners. He owned and operated Leslie’s Grocery from 1966 to 1980 and owned B&B Guns, Coins and Collectibles from 1992 to 2005. He was chair of the Deacons of West Hendersonville Baptist Church. Drake loved God, family and his church, West Hendersonville Baptist Church, where he was a lifelong member. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing and spending time with his family on the Davidson River. The last few years he had by his side his favorite four-legged companion, Sue.

He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Barbara R. Drake; a daughter, Jennifer Drake of Hendersonville; granddaughters Brittany Maybin and Kayla Brezillac (Jon), all of Hendersonville; a son, William Jeff Drake and family; a sister, Betty Balson; a brother, Herbert Drake; and his special pal, “Little Man."

The family will receive friends from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 27, at West Hendersonville Baptist Church. A funeral service will follow at 2:30 p.m. with the Rev. Jerry Mullinax officiating. Interment will follow at Oakdale Cemetery. At other times the family will be at the home of Kayla and Jon Brezillac.

The family expressed their gratitude to the Intensive Care Unit staff of Pardee Hospital and offered a special thank you to the doctors who provided care and support for Bill Drake during his journey from 2009 until the end: Dr. Dan Veazey, Dr. Medina, Dr. Anthony, Dr. Eisenhauer, Dr. Yeung, Dr. Little, Dr. Vargo, Dr. Trichon and Dr. Burton.

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Information for the obituary provided by Jackson Funeral Service, which is handling arrangements.