Linda M. Oakley

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CHARLESTON, SC The lady said to her husband: "If it ever hits the fan and I can no longer set you straight about what's amiss with the world, enjoy our evening cocktail hour together, and lovingly kiss you goodnight, call the hospice doc. I'm probably leaving the dance floor." Typical Linda Marie Oakley. She danced as long and as fast as she could for the last years of her life while pancreatic cancer did its best to slow her step. It ultimately prevailed but the grace of Linda's step never changed, not even when she tapped her last toe on January 31, 2013, at The Hospice Center of Charleston. Linda was born on August 24, 1942, and raised in York. Her parents were William H. Knaub, II and Geraldine Shaffer Knaub who, adhering to the preferred order of things, died before she did. Linda is survived by her younger brother, William H. Knaub, III of Sandy, Utah, his wife, Ginny, and their extended family; her husband of 50 years, Eric M. Oakley, who she met in York's only kindergarten in 1947 and married 15 years later when both were flailing away at finding adulthood in Cambridge, Mass.; their first born, Christopher S. Oakley, who lives in South Portland, Maine, and does his best to help make L.L. Bean your provider of all things essential, or otherwise; and their second kid, Todd V. Oakley, who lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and fully professes about cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and Todd's partner, Cindy Oakley, and their sons, Benjamin T. and Simon V. Oakley. Having no real choice in the matter because Eric was always "doing the manly thing of providing for his family, "Linda pulled the laboring oar in raising their sons wherever she and Eric lived - York, Cambridge, Charlottesville, Va., Glen Burnie, Md., and most of the time, Shaker Heights - to be the apples of anyone's eyes, usually. Then, having set them off to do their own things, she moved on to do hers: studying and practicing the art of home decoration; retailing Sedlak's high end furniture; selling Doncaster ladies' clothes as a "consultant; "managing Doncaster's Northern Ohio district which involved the finding, hiring, training, motivating, and occasionally firing of more than 50 other consultants; being actively curious about the world changing around her; and, most importantly to her, remaining close to and supportive of all of her friends and family including the "Aunt Colony" composed of her mother's seven sisters, their spouses, and progeny. Linda's work with Doncaster was a 24/7 effort which also involved, for her, the privilege and challenge of going to New York City for a week twice a year to consult during the daytime with the company designers about the next seasons' fashions and to enjoy in the evening the cafe and theatre performances of her favorites. She loved and was very successful at her work, but it was non-stop and there came a point when she had to wind down. Her husband had reached that stage too, so they both retired and moved from Shaker Heights to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, to live a decadent life of leisure - traveling hither and yon, socializing, reading, thinking, debating, and sometimes arguing, golfing, and stimulating the local fashion, book, personal (but not what you may be fancying) service, restaurant, and bar economies while doing little that either of them would claim productive besides finding new and maintaining old treasured friendships-until late May 2008 when Linda was diagnosed and the earlier mentioned fan switched on. Following a nine month regimen of surgery (the beloved "Whipple Procedure") and chemo-therapy, Linda insisted that there was still a life to be lived. She did so as fully as possible, including more trips with Eric to Europe, the West, and Upper Midwest, the Very Near East (Maryland to Maine), and South Carolina, before deciding it was time to give their lives a little jolt, get out of Ohio's "north coast" winters, and move to Charleston, S.C. There - with the help of newly found trusted pros in the fields of medicine, real estate, finance, design, renovation, landscaping, and bar hopping - Linda kept up her momentum and put her own singular talents to work in buying and re-creating her and Eric's home on Logan Street while making many new friends, including the famous and infamous daughters and sons of Publius Cornelius Scipio. Linda always found a way to make her life satisfying while feeling deeply that it was a charmed one as well. Her friends would add most of the laudatory adjectives and adverbs listed by Roget, but Lin never pretended that some of the less flattering ones did not also apply. At the end Linda could fairly say to herself "Well done!" and anyone who knew her would agree. Friends will be received in celebration of Linda's life at 16 Logan St. in Charleston from 6 p.m. until whenever on Saturday, April 20, 2013. All smiling faces will be welcome. The bar will be fully stocked. the hors d'oeuvres plates will be brimming. and the dais will be open to anyone who wants to briefly relate a remembrance of, tall tale about, or fare-thee-well to Linda. In the meantime, no flowers or gifts to 16 Logan please. Relish, instead, your memories of Linda and bestow your largesse wherever else you think it worthy.
Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4, 2013
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