Grace Elizabeth Drake, 79, passed away peacefully in her home Thursday, September 9, 2021.
Grace was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She was known for her kind manner, her ability to make friends anywhere she went and her many creative talents. Grace was born July 29, 1942 to Hattie and Raymond LaBar in Canadensis, PA. She graduated from Barrett Township High School with goals of becoming a teacher. Other plans were in store for her, however, as she went on to pursue various jobs which included being a waitress, a restaurant owner/cook, a leathersmith and the owner of a windshield repair business, to name a few. She and husband Bill were married in Albuquerque, 1963, although there were a couple of moves back to Pennsylvania before they settled in New Mexico for good in 1980. While she lived in Albuquerque the last years of her life, she lived in Jemez Springs, NM for almost 20 years, where she enjoyed the outdoors, the fall leaves and the hummingbirds that frequented her balcony in the summer. It was in Jemez where she ran her windshield repair business, getting to know many of the residents while doing her job. Grace was an award-winning knitter, a talent that was passed on from her father and mother. She blessed others with shawls, hats, afghans, socks, ornaments and so much more. She often entered exhibits in the state fair, winning many ribbons and awards. In the early 90s she became interested in carving leather and became a very talented leathersmith. As this new passion developed, she entered her leather masterpieces in the state fair and, to no one's surprise, she received many accolades for those as well. There were even articles written about her over the years regarding her talent in knitting and leather work. Grace loved to cook and bake, often using family recipes that are hand-written in her cookbooks. While running a restaurant in upstate Pennsylvania, she became quite skilled in German cuisine, a favorite among locals of the area. She faithfully watched the game show "Jeopardy!" and she loved playing games.
Although Grace had stage IV breast cancer for 12 years, she lived life to the fullest and enjoyed it. She was present in the lives of the people she cared about. It was a thrill for her to see her grandsons grow into young men, attending their various activities when she could. She was able to travel with friends and family; she particularly loved to visit national parks. She had many victories during her cancer journey, and those who know her would call her a survivor because she beat the odds long ago. She will be missed greatly here but her faith in Jesus gives us comfort and hope, knowing that she is in God's presence for eternity. She is resting in green pastures beside still waters (Psalm 23).
Grace is survived by her husband of 57 years, William (Bill); children, Todd Drake and Dianna Gonzales (David); grandchildren, Anthony, Andrew and Jacob Gonzales; and brothers, Garritt LaBar and Verne LaBar. She also leaves extended family and a multitude of friends. Grace was preceded in death by her parents; and daughter, Debra.
A Memorial will be held to celebrate her life on Saturday, October 23, 2021, 11:00 a.m., at the Jemez Valley Baptist Church, 8294 Highway 4, Jemez Pueblo, NM.
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