Obituaries » Rafael Vargas
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A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 2:00 PM at Bethel Baptist Church, 5701 Mt. Olivet Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49004. A time of visitation will take place at the church prior to service from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.
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On the morning of November 5th, 2022, Rafael Vargas was warmly accepted into God’s open arms, closing his final chapter on this earth, and beginning his first of many chapters in the kingdom of Heaven. God broke the mold when Rafael was gifted to his mother and father, Julia Escatel and Rafael Vargas, on October 28, 1967. Born in Tepic, Nayarit in Mexico, he lived his early years taking care of, and forming unbreakable bonds with his expansive family. He would spend many evenings climbing to the top of Cerro de la Cruz and Cerro de San Juan and looking over the vista in awe of what God had created.
He was an avid reader and always surrounded himself with books. Every time he had a new book, he would pass it off to someone in the family to read before him and let them know if it was “worth the time”, as he was already buried in another story. He loved the word of God and would spend many nights reading and studying the Bible. His favorite Bible has been in his possession for many years. Held together with tape and tears, *his* Bible is full of notes, comments, and personal messages to God, his Father. He wrote many of his own sermons and delivered them to his church and children whenever he could. His Sunday best included his favorite suit, and his signature black or brown cowboy boots. Ones that he would let his children wear when they were younger, to stomp around the house with and pretend they were him.
He is survived by his wife, Sofia Caritina Sena Garcia Vargas, who he cherished more than words can describe. When they were just 13, they shared their first kiss, but at first, Sofia turned him down many times. But he never gave up; he knew she was the one he would spend the rest of his life with. At En la dia de Estudiante, after a student dance, he walked her through to La Loma, where he “asked for the millionth time” if she would date him. He tried to convince her by saying that if she “said yes tonight, then you can break up with me tomorrow” and she finally agreed. She never did break up with him. On February 14, 1986, on Valentine’s day, they were married.
In 1988, he and his wife moved to Kalamazoo to pursue work and establish his family in America. He got a job as a public service worker for the city of Kalamazoo in 1996 and had been working there ever since. He prided himself in hard work and his ethic for getting jobs done was unmatched. He pushed himself to take on as many home projects as possible, even if some of them remained half-done for decades.
He is survived by his five most prized possessions, his children: Julia, Rocio, Sofhia, Yazmine, and Carlos. Together they have provided him with eight beautiful grandchildren: Lizet, Dante, Giovanni, Elijah, Ezekiel, Edison, Milani, and Amir. He also leaves behind his cat, Jaquito. Being the eldest sibling to five younger siblings, Rafael spent his entire life as a watcher and protector, making sure each and every one of them stayed true to themselves, and to their family. Jesús, Rocio, Juan, Alex and Laura have been by Rafael’s side his entire life, through thick and thin, and will continue to honor his memory.
His family was his world, and every family member was close to him, no matter how distant they were. An uncountable number of uncles, cousins, and grandchildren flooded his life, and every single one of them loved Rafa. He thrived being surrounded by as many members of his family as possible, even forcefully cramming 40 plus people into his living room for a holiday party or event.
Rafael was a beautiful and Godly man. An amazing father, brother, uncle, cousin and grandfather. His memory will live on forever through everyone in his life that knew him and cherished him. He will be missed, and our worlds will never be the same without him and his warm embrace.
We invite our friends, family, and community to come together in remembrance of Rafael. A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 2:00 PM at Bethel Baptist Church, 5701 Mt. Olivet Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49004. A time of visitation will take place at the church prior to service from 12:00 to 2:00 PM. Friends and family may share a condolence message online at www.joldersma-klein.com.
Papa, you will be missed, but we can be happy knowing you are finally home. We love you.