Walter Gerald Jerry Lake(1921 - 2013)

Walter Gerald (Jerry) Lake October 20, 1921 - August 2, 2013 Walter Gerald (Jerry) Lake, family man, businessman, patriot and WWII vet unexpectedly passed away at his home on August 2nd. Jerry was born October 20, 1921 in Long Beach, California. He came to Bakersfield, California, with his Canadian born parents Charles P. and Gladys Lake in 1934. He graduated from Kern County Union High School, now Bakersfield High, in 1939 and attended Bakersfield College until he enlisted in the Army. He married his wife, Mary Louise Robinson, on October 2, 1943 at Yale University Chapel. Throughout high school, he helped his father stack pipe and deliver oilfield equipment. He drove buses for a number of years for the Kern County Union High School District before serving in WWII as a second lieutenant in the 487th Heavy Bombardment group stationed at Lavenham, England. During his deployment, Jerry was responsible for arming B-17 bombers that attacked German-occupied France on D-Day. Jerry and his generation lost their youth to World War II. We are grateful for his service and the duty given by all Veterans. After the war, Jerry returned home and attended USC on the GI bill earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He joined the family business, Western Oilfields Supply Company, fulltime in February of 1948 where he put his engineering degree to use designing many of the agricultural products still used in the industry today. In 1950, Jerry, his brother Don, and his father, Charles Lake, started Rain for Rent, a new company to pioneer the sprinkler irrigation rental business. Due to the post war economy and rationing of raw materials, WOSCO purchased boilers from obsolete steam engines and removed the tubing, which they modified into irrigation pipe. Jerry was the king of recycling before recycling was cool. The "new" generation irrigation system provided more uniform crop irrigation and water conservation as compared to flood irrigation. Later, Jerry was instrumental in the development of portable sprinkler irrigation throughout the Western United States. He worked with many local growers to prove sprinkler irrigation could help reclaim alkali ground and make the desert bloom. Jerry was a "servant leader". He served, he showed up, he volunteered. He didn't gripe nor complain nor gossip. He helped with his hands and his resources. Jerry worked every day of his life for 91 years trying to make a difference in our business, our community, and entire nation. He was instrumental in the company's transition through different business models to create a truly international company. From his childhood chopping weeds at the old Weedpatch pipe yard to being CEO, Chairman of the Board and finally, "Vice President of Advice", he was intensely committed to his family, employees, our country's freedom, and our beloved Constitution. A visionary, Jerry was the instrumental driver to support Christo and Jean Claude with their epic art project: "The Umbrellas: Joint Project for Japan and USA". Rain for Rent designed and manufactured the 3,100 umbrellas for display in Ibaraki, Japan and the rolling hills along the Grapevine between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. Jerry was active in the Boy Scouts, serving on the board for a number of years, and an avid supporter for over 50 years. Camp Kern was his favorite Scout project. He lived by the Boy Scout motto of honor and service. He was a member of Quest Club for 14 years, an active supporter of the Police Activities League, and was actively involved in the Lake Family Foundation. Giving was Jerry's gift. From planting trees on the Riverwalk to building the barge at Camp Kern, he gave of himself every day. In his prime, Jerry loved wood working, playing golf, flying his Citabria, and serving his community and country. He believed in ROTC, the Devil Pups Marine Corps program, and vocational education. Jerry is survived by his wife, Mary, of nearly 70 years; three children John (wife Sheila), Robert (wife Susan) and Cynthia; grandchildren, John Paul (wife Ingrid), Ryan, David (fiance, Jennifer Brizendine), and Carolyn; and great grandchildren, Troy, Thomas and Olivia Lake. Memorial services will be held Friday, August 9, 2013, 10:00 a.m., at Hillcrest Memorial Park & Mortuary, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, California. Pallbearers: David Lake, John Paul Lake, Ryan Lake, Robert Lake, John Lake, David Wolfe, Jeff Wolfe and Justin Wolfe. Honorary Pallbearers: Harrell Branscum, Jim Hartwell, Mike Grundvig and Bob Wolfe. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Southern Sierra Council of the Boy Scouts of America or . www.bakersfield.com/obits

Funeral Home

Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary
9101 Kern Canyon Road Bakersfield, CA 93306
(661) 366-5766

Published in Bakersfield Californian from Aug. 7 to Aug. 9, 2013