Dunbar Funeral Home (Devine)

3926 Devine St, Columbia, SC


William R. Drake

March 10, 1944August 12, 2018

COLUMBIA - A memorial service for William R. “Bill” Drake, 74, will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 18, 2018 at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. Visitation will take place Friday, August 17, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Bill died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, August 12, 2018. He was born March 10, 1944, in Succasunna, New Jersey to Hillard Robert and Helen Amanda Voegeli Drake. He was a 1962 graduate of Roxbury High School, where he was Student Council President and captain of the basketball team, and a 1966 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where he received an A.B. in Government. He was a PPG Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and studied at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs.

Bill was a pioneer in the field of dispute resolution. He worked in more than 70 U.S. cities and 37 states over his four-decade career. Originally a city planner with the Office of the Mayor in Newark, NJ, Bill’s interest in conflict resolution flowed from his work addressing large scale racial violence in the late 1960s and early ’70s. After leaving Newark, he was a national program director for the National League of Cities (NLC) and U.S. Conference of Mayors. Later, he served as the Deputy Director of Member Services for the NLC. He met his wife, Jane Wallace Craig Drake, at the July 1976 NLC League Workshop in Hilton Head during her time at the Municipal Association of South Carolina. They were married by Mayor Max Heller of Greenville and the Rev. Susan Ulmer on May 10, 1980, in Columbia.

From 1982-1992, Bill was Vice President/Deputy Director of the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, DC, pioneering statewide offices of mediation, court-connected mediation and arbitration, and a South Africa program, among others. Beginning in 1992, he advised the African Center for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) on South Africa’s post-Apartheid transition and helped adapt U.S. models for mediating large, multi-party public policy disputes for use in Africa. He made six extended trips to South Africa, served on an international delegation led by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and jointly managed a project with ACCORD to exchange teams between South Africa and the U.S. for technical assistance and training. In 1996, Bill became the Founding Executive Director of the Western Justice Center Foundation (WJCF) in Pasadena, California, an R&D center in dispute resolution affiliated with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He received WJCF’s first Vision of Justice Award in 2001.

Bill was deeply engaged in the national field as a board member of the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) and Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), and locally at the Midlands Mediation Center in Columbia. He was a founding member of the Senior Mediators Group, a close network of national colleagues dedicated to furthering the field of dispute resolution and mediation that met annually starting in 1987. He taught dispute resolution and program planning at the Institute for Court Management and National Judicial College and served on the advisory and editorial boards for Negotiation Journal, Dispute Resolution FORUM, and Consensus.

Bill’s commitment to justice and collaboration paled only in comparison to his love for his family. He and Jane were married for 38 years. He was a cherished husband to Jane and devoted father to Anna and Amanda, beloved for his endearing humor and tireless advocacy of their personal, academic, and professional pursuits. He loved to hike and sail, was a passionate amateur photographer and photo editor, and he loved music, from Bob Dylan to Simon and Garfunkel and Johnny Cash. He was an enthusiastic cook, specializing in Indian foods inspired by time spent with colleagues in South Africa. A master omelet chef, he never missed an opportunity to make a favorite omelet breakfast when his girls were home. He loved his brothers, Bob and Richard, his nieces and nephews, and their children. He enthusiastically embraced his role as father-in-law to Anna’s husband, Jarrett. He was so proud of his family, and he taught them to love one another well. He will be dearly missed.

Bill lived a full and meaningful life committed to integrity, optimism, and reconciliation. His love, and his vision for a more peaceful world, will forever inspire his family and friends.

Surviving are his wife, Jane, of Columbia; daughters Anna Drake Warshaw (Jarrett Warshaw) of Boynton Beach, FL and Amanda Drake of Columbia; brother Richard Drake (Sandra Norberg) of San Francisco, CA; sister-in-law, Peg Drake of Damariscotta, ME; sister-in-law, Verd Craig Cunningham (Steve Cunningham) of Columbia; niece, Melissa Drake of North Plainfield, NJ; nephew, Jason Drake (Halley Moore) of Cleveland Heights, OH; niece, Sarah Drake of Lancaster, PA; niece, Verd Anna Pettigrew (Jon Pettigrew) of Belmont, NC; three great-nieces and one great-nephew. He was predeceased by both parents and his brother, Bob.

In lieu of flowers, please direct gifts to the Franklin & Marshall College Fund in memory of William R. Drake, ’66. Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com.


  • Visitation Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, August 18, 2018


William R. Drake

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bob Jones

August 19, 2018

Bill was one of my mentors in my first extended professional endeavor at the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in the 1980s. He was generous but rigorous in providing guidance and direction. He asked me to help him shape what became the legacy of “statewide offices of mediation” and we traveled near and wide trying to sign up states and programs with minimal funding and maximal persuasion. Churchill said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Bill gave and helped me make a life in consensus building. Later he asked me to step in and help on the USAID supported South Africa initiative with ACCORD. Bill and JW also shared their inestimable New Orleans bread pudding recipe drowning in bourbon that continues as a family staple. I will miss Bill. JW, you and your extended family have my and my family’s heartfelt sympathies and condolences.

Terri Wolff Kaufman

August 17, 2018

Jane, I am so sorry. It seems your husband's kindness, compassion, and smarts were a great match with yours, my childhood friend. This is very hard and I wish you peace.

Charles R. "Skip" Hicks

August 17, 2018

Jane, Anna, & Amanda, Brother Rich

Carol and I want to wish you all our deepest regrets on the passing of our classmate and old Friend, Bill.
May He Rest in Peace.

Skip & Carolann Hicks

Karen Ramsey

August 15, 2018

My family and I want to express our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences for the family, friends, loved ones, and dear ones. Jane, I have known you for a few short years and during that time you have always been kind, sweet, and endearing. I mourn your loss with you and pray for your comfort and peace in the days to come. God Bless you all and keep you close always.
The F W Ramsey Family (Karen)