YAKIMA – William J. Lake, one of Washington state’s few remaining World War I veterans, has died at the age of 108.
Lake, of Yakima, died Saturday, according to Shaw and Sons Funeral Directors.
He was born in Ralls County, Mo., on Oct. 30, 1895, and moved to Yakima as a small child.
Lake was 22 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army on Oct. 4, 1917. He was a private in the 91st Infantry Division and a machine gun ammunition transporter for the 346th Machine Gun Battalion. He fought in the Meuse-Argonne Forest Offensive in France and Belgium in the winter of 1918.
In 2000, nearly 80 years after serving his country, Lake received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from French President Jacques Chirac. It is France’s highest military honor.
He married Gladys Counts of Goldendale in 1926. She died in 1999. Lake was a farmer in the Yakima Valley for 32 years. He also worked as a truck driver at Holtzinger’s Warehouse for many years. An on-the-job accident forced his retirement at age 75.
He was preceded in death by his wife and one son, Bob Lake. He is survived by two daughters and their families.
Lake will be buried today at Yakima’s Tahoma Cemetery with full military honors.
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