Mike passed away suddenly on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 after a lengthy illness. He was born on November 19, 1943 to Tony and Grace (Harvey) Prete in Akron, Ohio and has two surviving brothers, Joe Prete of Pittsboro, North Carolina and Ralph Prete of Fort Pierce, Florida. His youngest brother Neil Prete passed away in 2005. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Tim Bender (spouse Peggy), sister-in-law, Debby Young, and brother-in-law Brad Kilgore. His sister-in-law Becki Kilgore passed away in 2009 and brother-in-law Joe Young passed away in 2012. Mike was raised in a huge loving close family and considered the Blonairz cousins, Bernie, Bob, Dick, Dave and Marilyn (Landers) as his brothers and sister. He has many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends scattered across the US.
Mike grew up in Akron, Ohio and attended North High School where he played football and was voted Akron, Ohio All-City Left Guard in 1962. After graduation from North High School in 1962 he attended the University of Akron and enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. After completing his basic training Mike returned to Akron and worked for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He married his wife of 52 years, Bonnie Bender in August 1966 and began a family with the arrival of his daughter Michele (Shelly) Caples in 1968 (spouse Evan) and son Michael in 1972 (spouse Rebecca). In 1975 he was promoted to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Production Supervisory Team and in 1977 won the “Top Ten Supervisor of the Year“ award. In 1979 Mike was promoted to Shift Foreman and transferred to Norfolk, Nebraska to assist in the start-up of a new Goodyear facility. In 1981 Mike and family moved to Sherman Oaks, California when he purchased a Hardwood Flooring Company in the Greater Los Angeles area. Mike was known for his loving heart, ready smile, his quick wit, and his even temper. He was an assistant Boy Scoutmaster and enjoyed many years of campouts with his son Michael where he was known for his good natured practical jokes. In 2002 he joined Home Depot as a Sales Associate to live closer to his grandchildren. Mike had a huge heart and was always ready to give a helping hand to assist a family member, friend or volunteering with Home Depot to support needy Veterans.
Although he loved sailing, reading, collecting knives & watches, his biggest joy in life was his four grandchildren, Curren Caples, 22; Peyton Caples, 20; Evee Prete, 11; & Annie Prete, 8. There was nothing a grandchild could request of him that would have been too much to ask. He considered his grandchildren “the dessert of life”.
A note from Bonnie:
If you would like to share a special memory of Mike please either leave it on the online Tribute page or if you are attending the service, you will have time to share it personally; or if you give the note to the staff at Conejo Mountain Cemetery and it will be read during the service.
Also, many people are asking if we have designated a charity for donations, given Mike’s courageous battle with Lymphoma this last year, please feel free to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation or the American Cancer Society.
Our family would like to thank the many doctors, nurses, & techs of the 6th Floor Chemotherapy Unit of Community Memorial Hospital for their tender, loving care during Mike’s many hospitalizations. They are truly Angels on Earth that guided us through this difficult journey.