NILES - Ann Virginia Wilson Oakes passed away peacefully at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, 2014 at her residence following a long illness.
She was born Aug. 7, 1933 in Dover, the first and only child of James Clifton and Frances V. Madeira Wilson.
Her early childhood was spent in Mineral City, Stone Creek and Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, where her father was a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools. In 1951, after graduating valedictorian of her high school class in Mt. Pleasant, Ann enrolled in Bethany College, Bethany, W.Va., as a vocal music education major.
While there she was on the Dean's list every semester, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha social sorority and active in a host of campus activities including Clew Week (Christian Living Emphasis Week) and director of sorority singing and assistant director of Bethany Christian Church choir.
She became engaged to Bernard Oakes, a Bethany College senior ministerial student, during her freshman year. During her college summer vacations, she was a volunteer airplane spotter for the Mt. Pleasant civil defense committee and she never forgot her ID call name "Keelo Leema one one black."
After her sophomore year at Bethany, Ann moved to Lexington, Ky., where the love of her life, Bernard Oakes, was already in graduate theological school. She worked the summer of 1953 as a medical typist for an internal medicine specialist and then enrolled in the University of Kentucky as a junior music education major.
Ann and Bernard were married June 14, 1954 and, the following year, Ann graduated with distinction from UK in May 1955, just one week after Bernard received his graduate Bachelor of Divinity degree. While at UK, Ann was inducted into Phi Beta, national music honorary. Ann's weekly letters to her parents during the year that the newly married couple lived in a sparsely furnished two-room seminary apartment are a treasure for their families.
Ann was a devoted mother to her two children, going to dance and saxophone and trumpet lessons, attending football games in all kinds of weather and transporting forgotten items to college dorms in the dark of night.
Ann Oakes pursued graduate work at Youngstown State University and Kent State University. She received her Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling with distinction from YSU in 1973 and continued more graduate study after that. While teaching and being a parent and a student, she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, national honorary scholastic fraternity.
Ann was employed by the Girard Board of Education for her whole teaching career. She began as an elementary vocal music teacher in four buildings in 1970 and delighted in presenting four different Christmas programs each year. Then she was moved to the junior/senior high school as guidance counselor and retired in 1996.
Ann and Bernard served Disciple of Christ churches in Akron, Barnesville, Clarksburg, W.Va., Niles and, in retirement, the Lordstown Christian Church. Ann held numerous local church offices including elder in both Niles and Lordstown. She was senior choir director for First Christian Church in Niles for 30 years and began and led the community Advent Carol Sing for many holiday seasons. Her church choir presented a special costumed choral presentation each spring and enjoyed "traveling" to other locations as their banquet or meeting program. She also assisted Rudy Calderone as assistant director for the Niles Bicentennial Chorus.
Ann was involved in the Niles community activities along with her husband and was an active board member of Niles Community Services for many years. She was a breast cancer survivor since 1982 and again in 2010 and supported Relay for Life activities. She took pride in being a "bag lady" for the Red Cross blood drives and in being a "bell ringer" for the Salvation Army (through Niles Kiwanis Club) at Christmas time. Ann was a life member of National Education Association - retired, Ohio Education Association - retired, and Girard Education Association, Youngstown University Alumni Society, and University of Kentucky Alumni Association. As soon as she retired, she joined the Trumbull Retired Teachers Association and became the originator and editor of "TRTA lifelines," published six times a year for more than a decade. She wrote and presented skits (often in costume) and speeches to delight Bible school children, to inform congregations and to promote the work of the living gospel in every way she could. She also was a member of the Niles Historical Society.
Ann is survived by her husband, the Rev. Dr. Bernard M. Oakes; her daughter, Melody Oakes of South Euclid; her daughter-in-law, Christine Bateman Oakes of New Berlin, Wis.; three grandchildren, Rebekah (Dan) Gesch of Groton, Ct., Daniel Mark Oakes of LaCross, Wis., and Hannah Schmidt of Chicago.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Mark Luther Oakes who died June 11, 2005.
Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Holeton-Yuhasz Funeral Home.
The funeral will be 11 a.m. Saturday at the Niles First Christian Church. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Madden, the Rev. Steve Bentley, and the Rev. Cynthia Klingemier will officiate.
Her cremated remains will be interred at a later date in Roselawn Cemetery, Princeton, W.Va., next to her son and other Oakes family members.
In keeping with the theme of her life, Ann requested that memorial contributions be made to feed the hungry through Niles Community Services, 401 Vienna Ave., Niles, OH 44446 or Christian Church Foundation, Week of Compassion - Ann Wilson Oakes Permanent Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN. 46206.
Arrangements by Holeton-Yuhasz Funeral Home, 126 West Park Ave., Niles, Ohio 44446, 330-652-4311.
Visit www.holetonyuhasz.com to view this tribute and send condolences.