Michael Joe Rakes Michael Joe Rakes, 57, of La Mesa, CA passed away on Monday, April 29th in Visalia, CA while in emergency open heart surgery. Mike befriended everyone he met, inspiring them with his witty and charismatic outlook on life. He never met a stranger and always found the good in people. His never-ending smile, larger-than-life laugh and ability to light up a room will be missed. He will remain a passionate, strong, selfless man to all that have had the privilege of meeting him. He prided himself in teaching his family and all who knew him about his "Lessons of Life" and was planning on writing a book one day. Some of his favorite lessons of life were, "Laugh, Love and Live" and "It's always better to ask for forgiveness then ask for permission." Mike was born on June 29, 1955 in Bentonville, Arkansas. He grew up working on the family dairy farm. Mike followed his passion for dairy cattle and received a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He was active in school as student Senator, National Officer in ADSA and was the outstanding graduating senior. In 1994, Mike completed an executive MBA program at Pepperdine University. Mike was an incredible colleague and a great friend, to many around the world. He worked in over 50 countries on four continents during his 34 year career at World Wide Sires; most recently in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Iran, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China and Taiwan. Mike was very involved in the dairy industry and local community. He was a past Director of the National Dairy Shrine, Rotarian and Director of the YMCA. Mike's everlasting hard work and determination is a testament to his success in his career and also to his strong family. He was a proud husband, father of 4 incredible daughters and grandfather of two that were the center of his life. He and his wife Debra just celebrated 22 years of marriage and were looking forward to being empty nesters in the fall. He took the bull by the horns and fought to provide a beautiful life for his wife and girls, meeting all challenges with courage, poise, and wisdom. His family will be forever grateful for the constant support he provided. He was always the person to go to for advice on resumes, school papers and any life decisions. He was "the rock" of the family and he served as a mentor to so many people. Mike is survived by his wife Debra Rakes, daughter Brenna Keck (Peter Keck), daughter Brittney Creasey (Alexander Creasey), daughter Brooke Rakes, daughter Brilynn Rakes, grandchildren Noelle and Asher Keck, brother Randy Rakes (Jack Rakes), sister Missy Gentile(Russ Gentile), father Jerry Rakes, and mother Betty Rakes. Mike's 'Celebration of Life' memorial service will be held Friday, May 10, at 11 a.m. at Visalia First Assembly of God, with a reception at World Wide Sires following the memorial. Private burial. If you would like to make contributions to the family, you can donate to the "Michael Rakes Family Education Fund." Please contact Valley Business Bank at 701 W. Main Street, Visalia, CA 93291 or 559-429-7507. Arrangements are by Salser and Dillard Funeral Chapel. Condolences may be e-mailed to email@example.com
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Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register on May 4, 2013