Michael Ray Esteves
Michael Ray (Mike) Esteves, 72, died at his home in Miami Gardens on May 2.
Mike was born June 7, 1950 in Phenix City, Alabama to Raymond and Ella Pearl Esteves. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Arizona. The family moved back and forth between Arizona and Mississippi several times in Mike’s early years and although he attended Miami High School until his junior year, Mike graduated from high school in Mississippi in 1968.
A lover of all things mechanical, Mike spent much of his time on motorcycles and ATVs. Following graduation, he was draft ed into the Army, serving in Germany before returning to Arizona after his service. Like many young men at the time, he went to work for the copper mines, in this case Inspiration. It was there that he was able to enter an apprenticeship program to become an electrician, a trade he thoroughly enjoyed.
A big year for Mike was 1979; that was when he met Judy Allen. Their first date at the Toastmaster Café was the start of something wonderful as they went on to marry and merge their families into one. Mike continued his work at the mines, though many times it was necessary to find work outside the community during mining strikes. He worked for Inspiration, then the companies that followed, before retiring in 2009 from Freeport Miami, with more than 35 years of service on the property.
His retirement meant plenty of time for the outdoor activities he loved, with camping, fishing and ATV rides the order of the day. Mike loved to pull his camper out to the desert and forests so he could take advantage of the beautiful country in Arizona. He also enjoyed hunting trips out of state, rarely missing an opportunity to see what other areas of the country could offer in hunting.
Retirement gave him time to hone his interest in silversmithing and jewelry making. Taking advantage of a neighbor’s offer of gardening space, Mike had a huge plot with neat rows of tomatoes, peppers and vegetables. This in turn put him on the hunt for the perfect salsa recipe. The very successful garden meant it was time to learn the art of canning and one could count themselves lucky to receive a jar of his salsa or vegetables. Mike enjoyed cooking and he made a mean loaf of bread. He often laughed at how the talk around the campfire changed over the years from pickups and fast cars to debating the merits of different recipes and cooking utensils.
While he loved his pickup truck, his side-by-side vehicle and his camp trailer, nothing gave him more joy than spending time with family and friends. Whether it was camping in the desert or enjoying his backyard, it was the people he loved who made the experience. His friends and family felt the same about him.
Mike is survived by his wife of 43 years Judy; children Brandon Allen (Crystal) of Miami Gardens, Christopher Allen (Sara) of Reserve, NM, Monica Murphy (Rick) of Oakdale, Ca. and Christopher Esteves (Jessica) of Oakdale, Ca.; 15 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother Jerry O’Neal Esteves, his parents Raymond and Ella Pearl, and Grandma Olga Boykin.
Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13 at Lamont Mortuary in Globe.