On Saturday, February 27, 2021, Cynthia Rakestraw, loving wife and mother of many passed away at the age of 79.

Cynthia was born, March 14, 1941 in Columbus, Georgia to Roseann and John Panter. She graduated from Atwater High School, in Atwater, CA. She married Bob Williams. They had four children: Lura Dickey (Stanley) of McKinleyville, CA, Deborah Williams of Lemoore, CA, Bobbie Willams (Allen) of Ohio, Patrick Williams (Alicia), of Concord, CA. In 1974 Cynthia married her husband Leroy Rakestraw, With this new marriage she gained another daughter, Pamela Rakestraw of McKinleyville.

Cynthia loved being a mother and taking care of children. She had special bonds with many children including her granddaughter Lacey whom she took on the role of caring for from infancy. They moved to Santa Cruz and worked in group homes taking care of children. They became foster parents to many children, the ones that held the closest part in their heart were Albert and Barbara Mills whom they cared for and loved like their own children. Upon moving back to Humboldt County, Cynthia had a daycare called Merry Thoughts, where she cared for and loved every child. Cynthia loved music, some of her favorites were The Beatles, Irish Music, and Reggae. Cynthia and Leroy attended Woodstock in New York, 1989, where they saw many live artists. She was an avid reader, especially enjoying British detective novels.

Cynthia was preceded in death by her Parents, Roseann Apolinario, and John Panter, Granddaughter, Shannon Ordonez, and Sister, Catherine Flores.

Cynthia is survived by her two Brothers, David and John Panter, Sister, Joann Lewis (Richard), Brother-in-Laws Bob Rakestraw (Barbara), and Herb Brooks (Ann), and numerous nephews and nieces.

Cynthia had many grandchildren, Rolland and Audrey, Ryan and Melissa, Eric and Kelly Dickey, Roseanne and Jesse Ordonez, Christina and Angela Williams, John, Jeff and Chloe Williams, Shelby and Chris, Lacey and Ross, Nick Sellars, Brannon Hennings, Annabelle Mills, Ayden and Allen Chilcott, and Claudio Mills.

Lots of great-grandchildren, Juan, Jasmine, Deborah, and Robert Escobedo, Thereisa, Lucas, Natalie, Alexis, and Kennedy Dickey, Rylynn and Colton Lane, Kai and Kobe Yang, Koen Wolf, Thalia, Cyndi, Alicia, Tino and Cattleya Ordonez, Zachery Crain and Ariana Martinez. Great-Great-Grandchildren, Camilia and Cartier. She was affectionately known as Nana by all her grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. at the home of Lura and Stan Dickey, 1287 Railroad Dr. McKinleyville, 95519.

The family would like to extend a very special thank you to Ayres Cremation.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Cynthia Rakestraw’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.