9 entries
  • "Phyllis, Holly and Betsy: I am saddened to hear about ..."
    - Alvaro Aguilar
  • "What a wonderful tribute, Henry was such a loving pastor,..."
    - Peggy Harris
  • "RIP Henry, fellow Auxiliarist. You were a gentle, kind..."
    - Christine Fisher
  • "Henry will be greatly misses. Martha and I knew him well..."
    - Jim & Martha Vaughn
  • "Hank was a good and kind man, Phyllis, and he will be..."
    - Celeste Brown
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The Rev. Dr. Henry N. Oakes Jr. of Wilmington died July 28 following a brief illness. He was 76.

He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Phyllis. He is also survived by two daughters, Elizabeth Oakes-Harmon, Loveland, Ohio, and Holly Brooks, Tarboro, N.C., and four grandchildren, Tyler, Tim, Mary and Natalie. A brother, James Carroll Oakes, lives in Clifton Park, N.Y.

Rev. Oakes and Phyllis moved to Wilmington in 2002. He served several years as associate pastor at Hampstead United Methodist Church, and as spiritual director for the Walk to Emmaus spiritual retreats. He also taught classes at Wrightsville United Methodist Church.

He served on the board of directors of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCW, and taught several sessions on American history.

Rev. Oakes was active in U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-06, where he was program officer, chaplain and an instructor in boating safety. In 2010, he was named the flotilla's "Auxiliarist of the Year." He was a member of the Cape Fear River Watch, Wilmington-Cape Fear Rotary Club, and was a Master Gardener. He was an Eagle Scout and was awarded the honorary designation of Kentucky Colonel in 2001, the highest award given by the state of Kentucky for community service.

Besides pastoring at various churches in Indiana, he also taught classes at Cornell College, Iowa; Indiana-Purdue University, Indianapolis; DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.; and Franklin College, Franklin, Ind.

He served as chaplain at Central Baptist Hospital, Lexington, Ky., and Cabell-Huntington Hospital, Huntington, W.Va. He retired in 1997 after pastoring Olive Hill and Fairview United Methodist churches in eastern Kentucky.

A highlight of his career was lecturing on issues in American religion when he accompanied his wife, an early childhood education professor at Morehead State University, on a summer exchange of professors in 2000 at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, and in 2001 at the University of Guilin, China.

A lifelong supporter of civil rights, he was part of a contingent of United Methodists who attended the March on Washington in 1963, where he heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I have a dream" speech. He wrote the first biography of Bishop Robert E. Jones, who was the first black bishop in the Methodist Church in the U.S.

He was a graduate of Indiana University, and had a master's degree in sacred theology from Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N.J., and a Ph.D. in American church history from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Visitation is 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, at Andrews Mortuary Valley Chapel, and funeral service will be Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. at Wrightsville United Methodist Church. Burial will be in Silver Creek Cemetery, Charlestown, Ind.

Memorial gifts may be made to Wrightsville United Methodist Church, or the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCW.

Online condolences may be made at www.andrewsmortuary.com

Andrews Mortuary Valley Chapel

Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com

Published in the Wilmington Star-News from July 30 to Aug. 1, 2012
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