Obituary of Ronald Dean Dake
Ronald D. Dake
COLUMBIA - Ronald Dean Dake, beloved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Thursday, June 8, 2023, just days away from his 89th birthday. He was resting well and in no pain when he made his final journey.
Ron was born in rural Michigan (Denver Township) in the heart of the Great Depression. He was reared on the family farm, learning from an early age the value of hard work and a loving family. This was the foundation for the rest of his life as he served his country and reared his own family with love, devotion, and care. His life and deeds always set a high standard for his loved ones, colleagues, and friends.
He enlisted into the United States Air Force during the Korean War, and after finishing Radio Operator’s School, he was sent to Korea, where he was detached to the 3rd Marine Corps Air Wing at Pohang. Ron served over 20 years on active duty in the Air Force with assignments to South Carolina, Bermuda, California, Texas, Mississippi, Germany, North Africa, and Michigan, with stops in Okinawa, England, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Canada, and forty-three of the contiguous United States. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. Ron retired from the Air Force in 1973, and was forever proud of his military service, as well as his later involvement in the Harold E. "Speedy" Wilson Marine Corps League Detachment 1141.
After retiring from the Air Force, Ron worked more than 20 years for the United States Veterans Administration (now known as the United States Department of Veterans Affairs) in Columbia, South Carolina. Following his retirement from the Veterans Administration in 1993, Ron accepted the position of Executive Director of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Headquarters and Museum aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown, a part of the Maritime Museum at Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where he served 18 months. He continued throughout his life to hold a deep respect and reverence for all Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and was especially grateful to have been able to meet many of these heroes during his tenure as Director of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Ron treasured his family and friends. He also loved connecting with new people and could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere – he never met a stranger. Ron enjoyed sharing a meal, meeting for coffee, drinking a frosty beer on a hot day, conversations at home, trips to Target, car rides through countryside, riding his motorcycles, reading western-themed novels, exploring deals at Costco, cooking (especially Mexican food), gardening, and other activities near and dear to his heart. Music was always an integral part of his life. He played the guitar and had a rich and soothing singing voice, favoring songs by a range of artists including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Dean Martin, Marty Robbins and so many others. He would often tell stories about playing and singing in his County & Western band during the late 1960’s. His kids and grandkids were lucky to have a nightly serenade at bedtime, courtesy of Ron accompanied by his acoustic guitar with pleas to “sing one more” (such special memories). Another of Ron’s passions was wood carving. He hand-carved unique walking sticks, many with faces that revealed themselves as the carving process unfolded. He called those faces the “spirit of the wood”, and every walking stick was beautiful and distinctive. Ron also enjoyed writing about his thoughts, inspirations, and observations. Due to his love of composing and storytelling, he authored a book which was intended to be the story of his life for his grandchildren, “God’s Overcoat Pocket” (an adage his father shared to comfort him as a child – “you are as safe as if you were in God’s overcoat pocket”).
Ron’s closest friends and certainly his relatives remember deep discussions with him about topics such as paranormal events, urban legends & cryptids, outer space, life on other planets, and the afterlife (among others). Ron was eternally curious and always open to all possibilities. He was also a profoundly spiritual man who was strengthened and sustained through his personal relationship with God and his daily conversations with Jesus.
Ron is survived by his daughter, Rhonda Dake Grant of Lexington, SC; grandson, William Dean Grant of Columbia, SC; granddaughter, Melissa Dake-Costill (Peyton) of Columbia, SC; granddaughter, Audry Joyce Grant (William Busbee) of Columbia, SC; granddaughter, Sarah Elizabeth Dake of Greenville, SC; great grandson, Archer Dake Bateman of Greenville, SC; nephew, John Gilreath of Piedmont, SC; niece, JoBeth Gilreath of Piedmont, SC; nephew, Eldon Nelson (Amy) of Mauldin, SC; niece, Sandra Dake Langley (Jeff) of Tucson, AZ; niece, Jacolyn Dake Lewis (Colorado); his son-in-law’s sisters, Peggy Grant and Sue Grant of Columbia, SC; and his son-in-law’s brother, John Grant (Mary Jane) of Blacksburg, VA.
Ron was preceded in death by his dear wife of 47 years, Peggy Joyce Nelson Dake; his beloved son, Ronald Dean Dake, Jr.; his brother, Jack Stigman Dake; his father, George Julius Henry “Jude” Dake; his mother, Mary Ellen “Mae” Alquist Dake; and his son-in-law, James William “Bill” Grant.
Ron was deeply grateful for the staff at NHC, Parklane (Columbia, SC) who took exceptional care of him since the fall of 2022. While he appreciated the hard work and care from all the staff at his facility, he shared with his family the day before his passing that Nurse Dixon, Nurse Lee and Felissa were his special blessings from God. Ron’s family will forever keep the NHC, Parklane caregivers in their thoughts and prayers.
Ron’s final wish was to be cremated in his Marine Corps League uniform with his medals displayed. Woodridge Funeral Home is overseeing the arrangements for this request. Ron wanted his ashes to be taken by his family to his hometown in Michigan and scattered near the swimming hole he enjoyed as a child. A memorial service to celebrate Ron’s life will be held at Woodridge Mausoleum Chapel, 138 Corley Mill Road, Lexington, SC 29072, on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to one of the charities that were dear to Ron’s heart. He supported these organizations and believed in their work and missions. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org), St. Labre Indian School (www.stlabre.org) and St. Joseph Indian School (www.stjo.org).
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