Oakland Lee Ard (1925 - 2018)

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  • "Jackie, my heart goes out to you over the loss of such a..."
  • "Mr Ard was a kind, wonderful man. I appreciate his..."
    - Paula Saunders
  • "Oakland was the "watermelon man" to us. May he rest in..."
    - Lisa Dosev
  • - Elbert Peters
  • "Thoughts and prayers from here, Fred, for your Dad and your..."
    - Steve Ross
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Oakland Lee Ard was born September 17, 1925, in Geneva County near Samson, AL. He passed away on July 20, 2018, The second of four children of William Lee Ard and Pinkey Elender Aplin Ard, he attended Reese School, Hacoda School, and Samson High School in Geneva County, and Gaskin School in Walton County, FL. While still in school, he was drafted into the United States Army, along with his older brother Dalton, in December 1943. He joined the 2nd Armored Infantry Division, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment on August 30, 1944, and engaged in combat in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany until Thanksgiving Day 1944 when severe frostbite removed him from the battlefield. His military service at Ft. Knox, KY with an honorable discharge on May 10, 1946.

Afterward, Oakland resumed school, spent two years farming, then found employment in the paper industry, where he would remain until his retirement. That career began at St. Joe Paper Company, in Port St. Joe, FL, where he met and married Marian Elizabeth Watts in May 1952. In January 1953, he was employed by St. Regis Paper Company, which took the couple to Jacksonville, FL. In September 1957, the couple moved to Jay, FL when Oakland was accepted for a job at Container Corporation of America's newly-opened Brewton Paper Mill. He retired from Jefferson-Smurfit in 1996 at the age of 71. After the death of Marian in 2005, Oakland and Jackie Stewart were married in March 2007.

Oakland contributed to his community through his involvement in a variety of civic organizations, business associations, and his church, Jay First Baptist Church. Those include Board of Directors of Jay Hospital, State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) Board Member, Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Jay Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department Interview Committee, ARC Santa Rosa Board of Directors, and as a Take Stock In Children mentor. He served as a Councilman for the Town of Jay. Throughout his career in the paper industry, he served his co-workers as president of two union locals, one of which he was a founding member, and as founding member and officer of two credit unions. An avid gardener, he enjoyed fishing, raising cattle, and hay farming throughout his retirement years.

Several honors were bestowed on Oakland in 2004, in recognition of his volunteer efforts, including: Northwest Florida Area Agency on Aging 2004 Older American's Month Award, Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce 2004 Volunteer of the Year, American Legion Post #121 Service to America Certificate of Recognition, Town of Jay Proclamation recognizing Santa Rosa County Volunteer of the Year, Santa Rosa County Commission resolution declaring May 13, 2004, as "Oakland Ard Day", and by Extensions of Remarks by Hon. Jeff Miller, HONORING OAKLAND ARD in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. He received the Santa Rosa Chamber's Presidents Award in 1993 and the Hall of Fame Award in 2007.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 53 years, Marian, his older brother Henry Dalton Ard, and younger brother Herman Ray Ard. Oakland is survived by his wife Jackie, sister Versie Ard, sons Freddy (Vesta) and Ronnie (Bonnie), Jackie's daughters Marian Stewart-Griffin (Glenn) and Julie Stewart, grandchildren Taylor Ard (Amanda), Brandon Ard, Dalton Ard (Kelly), Jeffrey Ard, Jacob Gilliam, Lee Gilliam, Twig Griffin, and Stone Griffin; great-grandchildren Hailey Ann, Caleb, Eisley, and Aplin Ard.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Jay First Baptist Church from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Service will be 10:00 a.m., Monday, July 23, 2018, also at the church. There will be a viewing also on Monday at 4:00 p.m., with a graveside burial to follow at 5:00 p.m. at Eight Mile Cemetery in Samson, Alabama.

Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Emerald Coast Hospice or Jay First Baptist Church Youth Group.
Funeral Home
Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton
6539 Trammel Dr.
Milton, FL 32570
(850) 564-1585
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Published in Santa Rosa Press Gazette from July 22 to Aug. 21, 2018
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