Jeanne Marie Bruce Drake

Jeanne Drake

JEANNE MARIE BRUCE DRAKE, age 86, while surrounded by her loving daughters and grandchildren, left her pain behind and stepped into the presence of her Lord on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Among those there to meet her at the gates of Heaven were her son, Jon “Duck” Drake, and her parents, A. R. and Irene (Thomas) Bruce. Jeanne left an incredible legacy of love, grace and beauty; she touched the lives of everyone she met. She graduated from Alvin High School, in Alvin, TX in 1943 and started college that same year. After having changed her major several times, she finally graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Piano degree in May of 1948 from Mary Hardin-Baylor College for Women (now the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a co-ed school); however, she always felt a part of the 1947 class with whom she started out. Their class motto was, “Class of ‘47, the Nearest Thing to Heaven!” Her “angel” friends affectionately referred to Jeanne as “Brucie,” and until she was no longer able to do so, she attended many of their reunion gatherings at UMHB. As a student, Jeanne was instrumental in composing one of the school songs, and in 1993 she was inducted into the Walter Gilewicz Hall of Fame for her musical contributions to UMHB. A gifted musician and songwriter, she was studying to be a concert pianist at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas when she met the love of her life, Eugene “Gene” Drake. They married in 1952, and after 61 years of marriage, she still loved to hold his hand and tell him she loved him. For over 40 years she supported her husband in his roles as Minister of Music & Education, then as Pastor to various churches in the states of Texas, Georgia, and Washington. As a pastor’s wife, Jeanne was an amazing help-meet and most often the church pianist and accompanist for Gene, also a gifted vocalist. (She and Gene sang to each other at their wedding.) Jeanne loved to teach, and she put her teaching skills to use almost every day of her life. She was a wonderful Sunday School teacher and also taught piano lessons for many years, all the while juggling the raising of her three children, supporting her husband, and spending long hours counseling church members over the phone. She was the life of the party and had a lightning-speed wit that could rival the best of the comebacks! She brought joy everywhere she went. She had a knack for making what she had beautiful to look at and enjoy - that included clothing, décor and meals! She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, cousin and friend and will be greatly missed. Gone from their presence but not their memories, Jeanne leaves behind: Husband, Eugene Drake (Katy); Daughters and Sons-in-Law, Jana & Roger Tornga (Magnolia) and Julie & Jim Cianciolo (Katy); Grandchildren, Audrey Cianciolo and Jimmy Cianciolo; Brother, R. Tom Bruce (Denton); Sister, Arleah Bruce Hillegeist (Tomball); Step Grandson, Armando “Richy” Colon and wife, Angela, and their six sons; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A memorial service to celebrate her homegoing will be held at Living Stones Church, 26605 Peden Road, Magnolia, TX 77355, 281-356-5683, on Saturday, August 10, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Jeanne Bruce Drake Presidential Endowed Scholarship at UMHB; online at, click on giving or mail to UMHB Box 8433, 900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513.