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Obituaries in the News

June 23, 2004

William J. Lake

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) _ William J. Lake, one of Washington state’s few remaining World War I veterans, has died. He was 108.

He died Saturday of complications from pneumonia following recent surgery for a perforated ulcer, said friends, other veterans and officials at Yakima Manor, the retirement home where he lived.

Lake was 22 when he was drafted into the Army on Oct. 4, 1917. He served as a private in the 91st Infantry Division and as a machine gun ammunition transporter for the 346th Machine Gun Battalion.

He fought in the Meuse-Argonne Forest 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, France’s highest military honor, from French President Jacques Chirac.

Lake was a farmer in the Yakima Valley for 32 years. He also worked as a truck driver for many years. An on-the-job accident forced his retirement at age 75.

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