Walter Michael Draney
(1940 - 2016)

Walter Michael Draney

United States of America
May 29, 1940

United States of America
November 4, 2016

This site is dedicated to Walter Michael Draney.

DEATH Sharp Grossmont Hospital, El Cajon, CA, Friday 11-4-16. Peacefully, following admission 10-28-16, from complications of pneumonia.

Predeceased: his father, Walter Francis Draney, and mother Helen Elizabeth (Scheier) Draney, both longtime residents of Kansas City MO and parishioners of Christ the King Catholic Church, where Helen volunteered as Sacristan and also as an elected PTA president in 1958; Walter Sr. as Chief Usher. Both parents strongly supported the church from its once rural infancy and actively took up positions in fund raising projects over the years through WWII and post war baby boom eras and with a measure of pride witnessed their four children blossoming in a dynamic and vibrant facility for Catholics living on the city's South-side.

Surviving loved ones include sisters Patricia Louise (Draney) Neff, a graduate of Bishop Hogan High School and later schooling in California who focused on special education projects in California for over 40 years, now semi-retired in Ajo, AZ, and Dianne Frances (Draney) Bintner, a graduate of Saint Theresa's Academy and later Avila College focusing on elementary education for over 40 years in the Denver School District, voted national teacher of the year; both women were highly prized teachers in their chosen fields; and, a brother, Daniel Leo Draney, a graduate of Rockhurst High School and UMKC, retired from federal service after 42 years, residing in Clarkson Valley, MO.

Mike Draney was graduated from Rockhurst High School in the 1950's and later obtained a BS degree in Geology from UMKC. He had federal service with the Aeronautical Map and Chart Center in St Louis before eventually relocating to California. Mike loved the US Southwest and toured extensively there as well as in Mexico. He became fluent in Spanish.

By history, like too many others from his generation, Mike contracted poliomyelitis in his infancy. He braved through the terrible effects of this disease which included for him severe spinal kyphosis and pronounced leg muscle atrophy, but with his great effort and family support he ultimately learned to walk independently--a tough job for anyone let alone one first exposed as an infant who then fought his personal battle through the darkest hours of WWII. There was not a big safety net for polio victims at the time as the clear priority was winning a war. Our mom, Helen, had five brothers in active service: one in the Aleutians, four in Europe, all in combat. One brother, SSG Gerald Scheier, as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne*, made the night drop behind enemy lines at the Normandy D Day invasion, and also made the air drop at Operation Market Garden in Holland. He gave the ultimate sacrifice at Bastogne where he was killed in action at the very close of the historic battle. During this time, while Mike did get love and attention, he was certainly not fussed over. As the years passed he progressed and developed great upper arm strength; he would in later life take up the challenges of mountain climbing. In the interim he continued to be a blithe spirit and learned and enjoyed the wonders of scuba diving. While still in KC he took lessons for his private pilot's license in the 1960's. He passed and took family and friends up for summer flights over his beloved hometown. He tracked the great rivers, geological interests, historical sites and would proudly hawk from the air, for example, Confederate General Sterling Price's route out of town hightailing south with the Yankees hard on his heels. He loved flight and up there Mike was free.

A yarn still proffered among old timers of the South-side Mercier Street Gang has it this way: On a bet our dad, Walter Francis, perhaps sensing a lull in the action on that lazy summer KC afternoon, challenged Mike into dropping out of his plane at altitude a homemade miniature red-bandanna parachute; and he, the family patriarch, guaranteed he would catch it in a peach basket if it dropped anywhere near the street. (There were in those days always red-bandannas and peach baskets around). From then to his last day, headed for the creek bottoms, peach basket in hands, looking skyward, tracking the red target, dad insisted that he could have won that challenge if someone, anyone, had warned him he was about to miss the bridge.

Mike loved his poker games and also in the early days would hole up through a KC winter playing marathon chess matches. But, perhaps, in its own special way, a hobby most exemplary of his character became the favorite: Blockhead** Stacking in rotation among the players those oddly shaped 24 wooden pieces in such a way that your opponent on the next rotation would find it impossible to add another block without collapse of one or all of the other pieces in the structure. A player's task was to, as fiendishly as possible, place a piece that may look secure but indeed was a booby-trap. Mike with great hand-eye coordination was a master; he kept his nerve and didn't give up, finding the perfect piece and just the right spot. The Mercier Gang said of him: "Never was there a Draney that couldn't find at least one nook or cranny."

Our brother bore his condition with great courage and what I believe the French still call elan. He had his own style and took on challenges without any fuss. He is the direct descendant of Hugh Draney and Margaret (Connoly) Draney who helped settle Nemaha County in 1856.

Private services will be held in San Diego, CA.

*502nd PIR; the Skytrain Boys
**not to be confused with modern video games; Mike's came out in 1954 and is in Games Magazine Hall of Fame.

D. Draney

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (3 entries)
What a courageous man Mike was and is certainly flying high enjoying the "nooks and cranny's" of heaven with his mom and dad.
Rest in Peace Mike!
Courtney Bintner Kelly
Courtney Kelly (Niece)
December 8th, 2016
Rest in Peace, sweet brother. I picture you running gleefully without earthly limitations and joyfully hanging out with mom, dad and all the Scheiers, Draneys, Fangmans and other relatives who have been waiting for us. Be waiting for me. Love, Dianne
dianne Bintner (sister)
December 7th, 2016
This is the memorial I set up for Walter Michael Draney. To sign the guest book, click on the "Sign Guest Book" button below.
November 19th, 2016
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"As my older brother Mike lit a pathway for me to follow. I cherish the times we had together and will never forget his undaunted courage and zest for life."
November 22nd, 2016


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