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E. L. "Lee" Rake was born February 24, 1930 in Muskegon, Michigan, the first-born child of LeRoy and Ruth Rake. He met the love of his life, Myrtle Brown, while stationed in the Army Air Corps at Smyrna Field, Tennessee. Following his service in the Korean War, they married on November 19, 1951 in Pontiac, Michigan where they made their first home. After relocating to Muskegon, Michigan the following year, they welcomed their only child, Janis Lee, on May 18, 1953. From the start and to this very day, she was and is her Daddy's girl.
Being a child of the Great Depression, Lee was forced to quit school in the 9th grade to go to work and contribute to the family income. This was a difficult thing for him to accept, as he was an excellent and eager student. While serving his country, Lee made a point to get his GED. Later, as a husband and father, he determined to attain a college degree by attending night school after work. First, he completed his Associates degree at Muskegon Community College while working days for Brunswick. After the family again relocated to the Tonawanda, NY area in 1963, Lee continued on. Working long hours as a filawound engineer and department manager for Spaulding Fibre, he would return home for a quick dinner, then head to night school, a Bachelor's degree in his sights. When Janis was in high school, after years of diligence and perseverance, he finally achieved this dream.
In 1978, their nest empty for several years, Lee and Myrt moved once again, this time to Brentwood, Tennessee. Lee worked in various capacities of middle and upper management for IKG Industries until his retirement. Following retirement, he became a Senior Volunteer for four years as a tutor in Nashville area elementary schools as part of the FLIP Program. He once commented to his daughter that "I never would have believed how much I enjoy helping these kids - God has saved the best for last." In addition, he also worked part-time grading achievement tests from around the country through Measurement, Inc. of Nashville until June 2009. Due to failing health, both he and Myrtle moved to NHC Place-Cool Springs at that time until his passing.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy and Ruth Rake; by his younger brother, Cpl. Richard F. Rake and by his younger granddaughter, Lora Beth Hernandez.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Myrtle Rake of Franklin, TN; his daughter, Janis (Anthony) Hernandez of Helena, Montana; his older granddaughter, Crystal (James) Butler; great-grandchildren, L. Evyn, Ashlyn and Camden Butler, all of Nashville, North Carolina; his siblings, Ruth Eek of Muskegon, Michigan and William (Sandy) Rake of White Cloud, Michigan; brothers-in-law, Will (Eleanor) Brown of Franklin, KY, Jerry (Yvonne) Brown and a sister-in-law, Katherine Brown, all of Lebanon, TN, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and numerous friends.
Lee was forever a spunky "Yankee" who loved his home among Nashville's southerners. Those who worked for him, respected him. Those whom he loved and befriended enjoyed his quick wit and treasured his friendship. In October 2011, during a life-threatening bout of pneumonia, Lee finally made peace with and surrendered his will to the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. We rejoice in the sure knowledge that he is reunited with family in the presence of God, whole, strong, and at peace. No more tears, never again to say goodbye to those whom he has loved so fiercely in this life.
The family expresses their sincere appreciation to Lee's caregivers the last four years at NHC-Cool Springs, and doctors and staff who cared for him periodically at Baptist Hospital.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, and again from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday, at the Mount Olivet Funeral Home. Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday in the funeral home chapel, with the Rev. Daly Thompson, Jr. of Johnsons Chapel UMC officiating. Military graveside services will follow in the LaGuardo Cemetery on Woods Ferry Road.
Published in The Tennessean on Dec. 13, 2013