Retired United States Bankruptcy Judge Walter Homer Drake, Jr., 90, passed away Friday, December 9, 2022 at his home in Newnan. He was born November 21, 1932 in Colquitt, Georgia to the late Walter Homer Drake and Mary Lois Cowart Drake. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ruth Bridges Drake, and brother, Dr. Henry C. Drake.Judge Drake moved to Newnan when he was eight years old when his father became the Superintendent of Schools. He was the Valedictorian of the 1950 graduating class of Newnan High School. Judge Drake was a graduate of Mercer University Undergraduate and Law School, 1954 A.B. and 1956 LL.B. After graduating law school, he enrolled in the U.S. Army where he served as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1956 to 1959. After his military service, he practiced law for several years before being appointed as United States Bankruptcy Judge in 1964 for the Northern District of Georgia. He served as Chief Judge from 1968 to 1976. Judge Drake left the bench in 1976 to become a partner in the law firm of Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers. In 1979, he felt the calling to return to the bench and desired to spend more time with his family, so he resumed his career as a bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Georgia until his retirement in 2021. Judge Drake was the longest serving bankruptcy judge in United States history and one of the longest serving federal judges.
Judge Drake’s love of his alma mater was evident in his commitment of service to Mercer University. He served on the Mercer University Board of Trustees from 2009-2011 and received the designation of Life Trustee in 2013. Judge Drake received the Mercer University Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2017 and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Mercer Law School in 2003. Mercer recognized his commitment to the University in 2012 by naming the Athletic Field House for Homer and Ruth Drake.
Judge Drake and his family have been longtime members of Central Baptist Church where he served several terms as a Deacon and he was an Adult Sunday School Teacher for over thirty years. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Myrtle Arnal Mann Sunday School Class.
The funeral is 1:00 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at Central Baptist Church, 14 West Broad Street, Newnan, GA with Rev. Matt Sapp and Dr. Joel Richardson officiating. Following the funeral, the family will greet friends in the church fellowship hall. A private family interment will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Rather than flowers, the family respectfully requests memorial contributions to Mercer on Mission, 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31207 or https://www.mercer.edu/give/
Condolences may be expressed online at www.mckoon.com
Survivors include sons, Walter H. Drake, III (Tracie), Taylor Bridges Drake (Lori), and grandchildren, Harrison, Wesley, Wheeler, Ella Catherine, Taylor, Jr., and Henry.