William C. Draper, 89, died in his sleep on November 15, 2017 at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ. He was born on October 4,1928 in Blackstone, VA.
William (Bill) grew up in Blackstone and graduated from Blackstone High School in 1947 where he played football and ran track. After high school, he attended William and Mary College for two years beginning in 1947 while serving in the Navy reserve. He was honorably discharged from the Navy reserve in February 1949; enlisted in the Navy in February 1949 and was honorably discharged in January 1953 as Electronic Technician Second Class. He then enrolled at The Citadel in 1953 and graduated in June 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Following graduation, he began work in 1956 for Western Electric (later Bell Labs, AT&T and Bellcore) as an electrical engineer, pioneering innovations in missile guidance systems during a career which spanned almost 40 years.
Bill married Margie Anita Dempsey on April 11,1953 in Charleston, SC. They were happily married for over 59 years. He enjoyed hiking the Sierra Nevada mountains; skiing in the mountains of the east and west, as well as Canada; running for exercise and fun for over 50 years - - notably finishing his 40th Virginia Ten-Miler in 2013 at age 85. He especially enjoyed analysis of any and all sorts of data, the love of which he applied to his volunteer work at Bishop Janes United Methodist Church and as the demographer for the Bernards Township Board of Education.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Bennie and Annie; his wife, Margie; and, his siblings, Irving Draper and Bea Atkinson.
Bill is survived by his sister, Mildred, of Closter, NJ; his sons, Chris and wife Lois Fitton and son, James, of Califon, NJ; John and wife Deborah, of Dallas, TX; David and husband Luis Alvaray of Chicago, IL; and, fourteen nieces and nephews.
Memorial Gathering will be held at Gallaway & Crane Funeral Home, 101 S. Finley Ave, Basking Ridge, NJ on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 from 11:00 – 12:00pm. Memorial Service will follow at 12 Noon at the funeral home. A repast will follow at the Washington House, 55 South Finley Avenue Basking Ridge, NJ. For Bill's friends at Fellowship Village, there will be a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 10, 2017 at Fellowship Village, 8000 Fellowship Road, Basking Ridge, NJ. For further information, or to light an online condolence candle please visit www.gcfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to a charity or cause which is important to the donor.