Perry R. Drake, 91, of Sparta, Tennessee, passed away September 26, 2021, after a short illness and stay at NHC in Sparta. He was born March 15, 1930 to Byron and Nancy Drake in Sparta, Tennessee. He was united in marriage to America “Merkie” Smith in 1948. They were married for 61 years before she went on to glory. Perry later married Marsha Vaughn in 2010. He was employed by the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan for 38 years and retired in his home state of Tennessee. Perry loved his family more than anything. He worked hard and played equally as hard. His large extended family could often be found behind his home, having a picnic, and playing ball. In his early years, Perry was a pitcher for the Kellogg Company Softball Team. Later in life, he pitched for Battle Creek First Nazarene Church. He finished out his softball career when he pitched for the Sparta Nazarene Church Softball Team and led them to winning a National Title. Perry drove the Sunday School bus for Battle Creek First Church of the Nazarene for several years when the church was located on Main Street. He later helped procure the land on Beadle Lake Road for Battle Creek First Nazarene and was instrumental in building the facility and grounds. After retirement, Perry served as a volunteer for food distribution in Sparta, Tennessee, and he and his friends played weekly music for several nursing homes in the area. Perry loved and played Bluegrass music for many years with his friends. He was proficient in the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin. His daughters vividly remember being taken to the homes of several close friends where the musicians played through the night and into the early hours of the morning. The family remembers amazing vacations when they visited family and friends, many times in Kentucky and Tennessee. Other fond memories include evenings in front of an in-home movie screen with a bowl of popcorn and butter pecan ice cream, watching old family films. And who could forget the fun, yet scary, “haunted houses” in the Drake Family Barn? So much love and laughter were shared during those times!
Perry was preceded in death by his father, Byron Drake, mother Nancy Drake, brothers Ross Drake and John Drake, wife America “Merkie” Drake, and two sons-in-law, Jack Harrison and Chuck Johnson. Surviving are his wife Marsha (Vaughn) Drake, daughters Sue Harrison, Nancy (John) Hueckel, Fay (Jim) Cummings, and Phyllis Johnson. Perry has 8 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and one great great grandson. It is a great comfort to know Perry is now in heaven with his Lord. He will be loved and missed by anyone who ever knew him. His wife, Marsha, summed up his character well: “Perry was the most loving husband who always had a kind word for everyone, a quick wit, and a twinkle in his eye. He will be sorely missed.”
There will be a celebration of Perry’s life at Newton United Methodist Church, 8804 F Drive South on Monday, October 4, 2021, with a viewing at 10:00 a.m. and a service to celebrate his life at 11:00 a.m. Internment will immediately follow at Newton Township Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the First Church of the Nazarene,1787 Smithville Highway, Sparta, TN 38583. Arrangements by the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home. You may leave a personal message for the family and sign the online guest book at www.henryfuneralhome.org
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