Raymond Daniel Rakestraw Jr. was born on March 8, 1933, in Chrome, Calif. He was the oldest of five children who worked dairy farming with their parents in the Sacramento Valley. Dan's family moved to Ferndale in 1950 and continued working for dairy farms.

Dan served as a heavy equipment operator in the army and helped build the base on Newfoundland. Dan used the GI bill benefits to attend college at Humboldt State University where he graduated with a degree and teaching credential in industrial arts.

On Dec. 21, 1958, Dan married the love of his life, Joyce Lowe, at the Methodist Church in Crescent City. Dan and Joyce moved to Milpitas, Calif., in 1963 shortly after the birth of their daughter, Dee Jae. Dan taught in the Alum Rock School District until returning north to Crescent City to continue teaching. Dan retired from Del Norte County Schools in 1993.

Dan put his family above all else. He believed that people should work hard but live life to the fullest. Whatever Dan did, he did it with Joyce and he did it well. They danced, bowled, played cards, took photos, built and remodeled houses, entertained, and traveled. Throughout their adventurous lives, Dan and Joyce opened their hearts and welcomed in the world.

Dan was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Joyce (died Oct. 31, 2013); and is survived by daughter Dee Jae Rakestraw-Arnett and husband Eric Arnett of Elk Grove, Calif.; grandchildren, Riley and Dylan Arnett; sister Lorene Cathey and her family of McKinleyville, Calif., and nephews Mike and Mark Rakestraw.

Dan survived four cancers and succumbed to the fifth one. In lieu of flowers, contibutions may be made in his name to a cancer research or support organization of your choice.

- Submitted by Family