We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Porterville Funeral & Cremation Center
Rev. Deacon Michael Anthony Avila mostly known as “Deacon Mike or Mike” of Porterville CA, passed away August 31, 2021, in Lovell, Wyoming at the age of 74 with his wife and niece by his side. Mike passed away after a battle with Stage 4 kidney & bladder cancer. At the time of his death, where he was serving as the Catholic Chaplin for the Porterville Developmental Center for the last 7 years. Cremation has taken place.
Mike was Born June 4, 1947 in Hanford/Lemoore one of seven kids to John and Gladys Avila. He was happily married to his true love and best friend Pamela Lynn Avila on Aug 20, 1971 in Porterville Ca. They had just celebrated 50 years and renewed their vows on Aug 21, 2021. They had 2 children: Ryan Anthony Avila and Michele Lynn Avila-Emerson of Porterville Ca.
Mike moved to Porterville with his family over 60 years ago, where he attended Burton grammar school, graduated from Porterville High School 1965, his AA degree from Porterville College in Industrial arts then Oregon Technical Institute where he majored in Diesel technology. Mike was an athlete of both football and wrestling, which he loved. Later, on March 13th, 1993, he was inducted into the Porterville College Hall of Fame himself and then the following year with his teammates from 1966. While attending Oregon Technical Institute Mike had to take time off to work and earn money to go back to school when he received his draft notice and chose to enter the United States Navy. During this time Mike met his soon to be wife and soul mate Pam and their future together began. Mike served his time in the Navy aboard the USS Hepburn, which included 2 tours of Vietnam. After receiving his Honorable discharge he decided to start driving truck. He then worked hard for many years at local packing houses, Bi-Rite trucking, then in partner with his dad and brother’s driving truck for John J Avila and sons trucking. He also built his own freightliner, Freddie, and drove it for many years known by his “handle” the “Portuguese Rose”. He went to work for Walmart Distribution Center’s truck shop the year they opened, working his way to a supervisor, from which he would retire 21 years later to babysit for his great nephew, Kaden. Later along this journey in 2003 he became a 4th degree Knight for the Knights of Columbus and his true calling as a Deacon. Mike went through many years of taking care of his mother, Gladys, and the loss of both her and his Daughter Michele during his journey, but Mike was an all-in kind of person and his word meant something. He did find great support in his Deaconate family. Mike loved family and friends, he maintained a relationship with all his lifelong friends through the years and was always there giving a helping hand to anyone in need.
Mike was a gentle giant, he loved spending time with his brothers, sister, grandkids, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Mike would always find time to play dress up with the little ones and find ways to play with them. He loved going places, old cars and building projects. Mike was a fixer, he could fix or build just about anything. He loved working with his hands. This is most likely what made Mike, such a great Deacon. He worked many hours at the church and his devotion to the word of God. He loved people and he loved helping others. Deacon Mike would always end with a “God Bless”! He will be missed by many, as he continues his work in heaven.
He is survived by his wife Dr. Pamela Avila, son, Ryan Avila (Amanda), granddaughters Madison O’Toole and Trinity Avila, grandson Tyler Avila and three siblings and their spouses, Johnny Avila (Joan) of Hanford, Donald Avila (Sue) of Ducor, Pat Avila (Lisa) of Porterville and Gloria Uny (Jim) of Johnsondale as well as numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, great nieces, great nephews and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Gladys Avila, Daughter Michele Avila-Emerson, two siblings Tommy Avila and Larry Avila and niece Amber Avila.
The rosary for Deacon Mike will be held on Wednesday September 29th 2021, 6pm at Holy Cross Church on Newcomb in Porterville. The memorial mass will also be held at the Holy Cross Church on Thursday, September 30th 2021, at 11am.
There will be a Celebration of Deacon Mike’s Life after the service at the Veteran’s Building on Olive in Porterville with a private Internment at a later date to the Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, Ca. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the following: The Holy Cross Church Building Fund at ourholycross.org/donate
and/or First Responder Support Network at frsn.org/donate.html.