OBITUARY

James "Big Mike" Michael Gates

October 10, 1958March 31, 2019
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James Michael Gates, known to many as “Big Mike” was born October 10, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Martin Luther King High School in Chicago. In 1979, he moved to Portland, Oregon where he worked in maintenance at Blue Lake Park, downtown at the Portland Hilton, and at Southland Corporation. At the end of 1987, while picking up his brother, Reggie from work, Big Mike met Nickie. The two hit it off and were married on August 22, 1992. They moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where they resided until 2005. No one could argue that Big Mike was a hard worker. He was the first of 50 who set up and opened the Bellagio hotel in Vegas. He worked for 7 years as the maintenance manager at Walmart, 8 years of security for Hemp Stock Festival, he made donuts at Winchells, did security for Coast to Coast, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Rose Garden, and also worked for Red Lion Hotel. Big Mike knew a little bit about everything. He loved all sports: fishing, golfing and football especially his beloved Chicago Bears. He also spent time coaching for PAL league. He was a BBQ Grill Master – even judging Barbecue cook-offs. He enjoyed going to concerts and making people laugh with his great sense of humor. Big Mike was also very involved. He was a part of the culinary union, teamsters union, a board member of Oregon Parents for Pot, and alongside Nickie the two created a non-profit golf tournament for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. After dealing with a few illnesses, James Michael Gates passed away on March 31, 2019 surrounded by his family. Preceding him in death are his siblings, Patricia Withers, Caesar “Gene” Withers, Sharon “Cookie” Withers, and Reginald Gates. Left to cherish his memory: wife of over 26 years, Nickie Gates; daughter, Rachel Williams-Gates; son, Michael Gates; siblings, Gregory Gates, Karen Gates, Sylvester Gates, Diane Gates, and Lester Gates; grandchildren, Kalani & Se’maj Williams-Gates; dog, Hendrix; and numerous other family members and friends who loved him. The family asks that you please consider a donation in Big Mike’s name to the Tucker Maxon School.

Services

  • Celebration of Life Wednesday, April 10, 2019
REMEMBERING

James "Big Mike" Michael Gates

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Dana Hathaway

April 10, 2019

I would sit next to Big Mike at DAP on Sundays because he was usually near the heat source and we would chat. He was always so kind and generous with his time. I miss him so much.

Michelle Romero

April 10, 2019

Big Mike, We love you more then words can tell, listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock your soul! Fare Thee Well my friend.
You are one of the most kindest and gentle souls I’ve ever met. Jeremiah and I are so thankful you crossed our paths in Life. And those hugs! Warmed my soul.
Rest easy my friend.

Trish Chingon

April 10, 2019

Big Mike, just seeing you and giving you a big hug was a huge comfort for me. I enjoyed our chats at all the events we took part in and would do my best to keep you smiling and laughing. Much love to you and your beautiful family.

Jay Searls

April 8, 2019

Big Mike we had some good times.. We had our own language without saying a word.. We go way back in the 90s working security at rose garden.. I will never forget your smile as I walked up to backstage hempstalk.. I really miss you at our DAP.. We were a team we kept things straight. And our wives depending on that.. You were the grill master cookin some BBq that is legendary... You will always be considered family and a solid close friend... 1 memory I will cherish is when you showed up to my birthday and surprised me.. Man that was the best gift to have you there brother..
Till we meet again.. Keep that smile and BBQ cookin..
You will never be forgotten
Much love
Huge respect
Your friend
Jay

Paul Armstrong

April 5, 2019

BIG MIKE.......MAN WE HAD 2 MUCH FUN...WE COULD SIT AND TALK AND LAUGH HAD YOUR OWN INSIDE JOKEZ ..MADE EACH OTHER CRACK UP...JYST A BIG OL KID AT HEART ....GONNA MISS THAT..IM GLAD YOU LET ME B PART OF YOUR LIFE...IM GONNA GET MY CRY ON.....THEN U KNOW WHAT TYME IT IS.....GONNA MISS U MAN@!! C.U.N the NEXT 1 PEACE ON YO RIDE HOME.....TWEEDY

Antony Castillo

April 5, 2019

I'll never forget you Big Mike. You were a truly cool cat. Show em how to work the grill up there in heaven brother.

Cerissa Hall

April 4, 2019

My first memory of "Big Mike" or affectionately known to me as "Uncle Mike" was him queing outside at WFCC. I was stoked to learn he was Nickie's husband and the father of my soon to be new friend Rachel. Uncle Mike was always kind and laid back. He treated everyone fairly. You will definitely be missed Uncle Mike. Blessings to the Williams and Gates family and all friends paining from Heavens gain.
Love Ya,
Rissa Riss

Kara Berendt

April 4, 2019

Mike~
I’m going to miss your charisma and charm. You always gave big hugs that could put my mood to happy no matter what.
We had a lot of fun talking about food and Chicago. I’m going to miss your wonderful cooking. I’m just going to miss you, Mike!!! Rest easy my friend. You will always be loved.

Anna Diaz

April 4, 2019

I am going to miss you, Mike! You were always there with a smile and no judgement. Thank you for your support through the years. You were one-of-a-kind!