Walter Jerry Gerald Lake

October 20, 1921August 2, 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


  • Funeral Service Friday, August 9, 2013

Walter Jerry Gerald Lake

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Dave Banker

February 27, 2014

I did a lot of work at Camp Kern throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, even serving as camp director for a few years. Jerry literally saved camp from closure, and more times than I can count, bailed us out of big problems. Some of the other "guests" at camp were critical and not too helpful, but I always looked forward to spending a day with Jerry. He was not only helpful, but very fun!

The Boy Scouts honored him as a "Great American", and I was honored to be there that evening.

Steve Bennett

November 4, 2013

I wish to express my condolences to both Robert and John Lake. Your father was a good man and I remember how kind and respectful you always were to both your father and your grandfather. This is from Steve Bennett in Bangkok Thailand where my wife and I are well and very happy. I retired a few years ago from Bangkok Bank and never regret having moved here. I remember you both with fond memories. Hope all is well and wish you continued success. Steve at Remember, "pari passu"?

Michael K. Foster

August 12, 2013

He was one of the best of the "greatest generation" He truly did leave this eath a better place for his having been here.

Thad Bulkeley

August 11, 2013

If we all could live as Jerry did, the world would be a far better place.

What a great man. What a great example for us all.

August 8, 2013

Sorry to hear of Mr. Lake's passing. I too worked for Mr. Lake at WOSC back in the 80's. Always a gentleman, always a kind word . He will be missed in the community as well as his family and friends will miss him . My prayers go out to the family.

Liisa Niemi

August 7, 2013

Unfortunately, when I worked for Western Oilfield Supply Company, I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Lake, I only spoke with him on the phone. He will be missed. I wrote this poem ...
"Your Eternal Steps"

Through every step you take together, may Peace and Gentleness walk with you...
May laughter dance like the Angels along your path...
And the love of God light your way.

Tiffanie Vik-Mendez

August 7, 2013

Mr. Lake will be missed. He was a true gentleman and a great role model for business success. It was my privilege to work for Western Oilfield Supply Company, and to know Jerry.

Marissa Medina

August 7, 2013

Rest in Peace. I will miss you always, Mr. Lake...

Patsy Sadler

August 7, 2013

Jerry will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him and worked for him as I did for 25 years. Never in those 25 years did I hear one bad word when Jerry's name was mentioned and still to this day, only positive things to say and what a giving person he was. My thoughts and prayers are with all his family.
Sincerely, Patsy Sadler


August 7, 2013

A life well lived. I would run into Jerry at various places many years ago. As always he was friendly, down to earth and easy to converse with. May he rest in peace. Remembering Jerry fondly.