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Obituary Listings

Michael "Big Mike" Brent Rau

November 14, 1955 May 26, 2020
Michael "Big Mike" Brent Rau
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Obituary for Michael "Big Mike" Brent Rau

Michael Brent Rau was born November 14, 1955, in Tucson, Arizona, to Everett and Charlene Rau. When Mike was eight or nine years old, the family moved to Oregon where his father built and ran the humane society on Turner Road in Salem which was originally a dog kennel. Later his parents bought the prime country, a lounge up the canyon where they served food and hosted live music and country dancing. Mike worked there growing up and had many stories to share about all the happenings over the years.

Mike graduated high school in 1973 as the first graduating class of the new Sprague High School in Salem. After high school Mike immediately joined the U.S. Navy and served four years during the Vietnam era. When he returned home, he married Charlene and they raised a son and daughter together. Mike worked at Mac Laren Youth Facility for 30 years as a security manager. He was liked and respected by his coworkers for his strict but straightforward attitude and remained at Mac Laren until retirement.

Well before the time he returned from the Navy, Mike had a passion for motorcycles, and in 1982 became a member of the Gypsy Joker motorcycle club. He was known as “Big Mike” and was very well respected and liked by the other members who were more like family than friends. Big Mike was generally a quiet man until he wanted his opinion to be known. The open road always called him and he enjoyed traveling whenever he could on his motorcycle.

Big Mike had two granddaughters that he completely adored, and they were the absolute light of his life. He was always a family man, but settling into his age, he relaxed more and gained a greater appreciation of the value of family. After a long battle with kidney disease, Big Mike finally found his peace on May 26, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents. Big Mike will be missed by so many including his children Michael "Biker" Rau and Kollette (Jake) Mack; granddaughters Gracie and Ellie; brother Daniel Rau; and numerous friends and fellow club members.

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