Charlotte Hernandez Wilson Drake (Hernandez)
IRVINGTON, VA. — Charlotte Hernandez Wilson Drake passed away October 14 at the Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury Continuing Care Community in Irvington. She was 95.
Charlotte was born in Yonkers, N.Y. on Jan. 26, 1923, the daughter of Clinton N. and Marjorie F. Hernandez. She was the eldest of two daughters. Her sister was Marjorie “Jeri” Hernandez who passed away in 2007.
As a child, Charlotte spent summers sailing and swimming in Lake George on Heart Bay near Ticonderoga, NY. She was an expert sailor and won the Comet series races at the Northern Lake George Yacht Club in 1941.
She attended private schools in the Yonkers area before matriculating at Arlington Hall Junior College for Girls in Virginia and then Barnard College in 1941.
It was during her first year at Barnard that she was engaged to and soon after married Donald S. Wilson, a cadet at the time in the Army Air Corps who flew missions in the war and taught navigation to pilots in training. Throughout World War II, the Wilsons moved around the country depending on where he was stationed. They had their first child, Susan, in 1944 while living in Memphis.
Charlotte lived a comfortable life and was always among the best dressed women in her social circles. She loved to entertain throughout her life, and was known as a gracious hostess. “She was always stylish — everything always matched from her shoes to her earrings,” recalls her daughter Melinda.
Charlotte and Donald Wilson lived in Mount Vernon, N.Y. after the war before buying a house in Bronxville in 1950. They had two more children, Melinda and Donald S. Wilson Jr. The Wilsons spent 25 years in Bronxville raising their children and spending summers on Lake George.
Charlotte and Donald in fact spent much of their lives on Lake George. Charlotte’s father, Clinton Hernandez, had a camp on Heart Bay and took his family there every summer. The Wilson family had a place just a few doors down, so it was where they met and fell in love.
After Donald Wilson died in 1974, Charlotte spent three years alone before marrying James O. G. Drake in August 1977. Both of her marriages were reported in the New York Times. Charlotte and Jim lived in Greenwich, Conn. before moving to White Stone, Virginia in 1994.
Charlotte was a member of the Junior League and a volunteer at the hospital when she lived in Bronxville. She was also a member of the Bronxville Field Club, Shenorock Shore Club, American Yacht Club, the Northern Lake George Yacht Club and the Cannoneers. She was also recognized for her volunteer work by Christ Church in Lancaster County, Virginia.
Charlotte was widowed a second time when Jim Drake died in 2003. She continued to live in White Stone and then nearby Irvington on the Northern Neck of Virginia, commenting now and then that “They are having a big party in heaven, and I’m not there!”
Charlotte Hernandez Wilson Drake was preceded in death by her parents, sister and both husbands. She is survived by three children and their spouses, Susan Harvey and Doug Mackenzie of Aspen, Colo.; Melinda Fuller of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and Donald S. Wilson Jr. and Barbara A.M. Wilson of Hopkinton, Mass. She is survived by three step-children and spouses as well, Glenn and Denise Drake of Annapolis, Md., Kim Drake West also of Annapolis, and Todd Drake of Hood River, Ore.
Charlotte is survived by numerous grandchildren and step-grandchildren, including Allyn Harvey; Katie Ertl; Megan Bourke; Brooke Mackenzie; Jason and Christopher Fuller; Donald, Todd and Tyler Wilson, Gretchen and Carleigh West; Tyler, Mitchell, Hannah and Trevor Drake. Her great grandchildren include William and Edward Fuller and Violet Stone Lee. She was also close to her nephews and niece, Michael Lau, Clinton Lau and Marji Lau.
A service and reception following will be held 10 a.m. Saturday November 10 at Historic Christ Church in Irvington, VA. A memorial at Lake George in New York will be held next summer.