Oakley, Harry R.
Rochester: Born September 2, 1916 in Rochester, NY. Died July 28, 2016 at the New York State Veterans Home in Montrose, NY.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Dorothy H Oakley (Zombeck) of Yonkers, NY, residing in Peekskill, NY. He was preceded by his first wife Anne M Bigelow of New York, New York. Also survived by Son Ronald Oakley (Carole), Grand-daughter Heather (Kevin Gottehrer), Grandsons Zachary and Ronald Sean, Great-Grand-Children Hayden, Greyson and Bennett. Step-sons John (Dorene), Peter (Patti), Stephen (Linda), Paul Tomaskovic and Step-Daughter Barbara (Donald) Tomaskovic-Devey along with Step-Grand-children Christopher, Sarah, Beth-Anne, Anna, Nicholas, Jason, Mathew, Timothy, Christopher, Michael, Edward and Andrew and Step-Great Grand Son Arthur.
Harry served in the Military from 1941-1942 (Army Air Corp), and then The US Air Force from 1942 to 1967 , retiring as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Reconnaissance Division at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He served in Europe during World War II over Italy, France, Germany, North Africa and other important sites. He flew the renowned P-38 Lightning in over 100 " combat " missions as a reconnaissance pilot providing valuable information both before and after bombing missions.
He received many medals and commendations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters and European Middle East Campaign Medal with five battle stars.
He was a friend of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of "The Little Prince", also a renowned French reconnaissance pilot, who disappeared in 1944 in the Mediterranean Sea while flying a P-38 Lighting.
He worked for the US Government in Washington, DC, doing Aerial Cartography from 1968 to 1978.
He lived in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina for over 30 years until moving north to Ossining, NY.
Harry loved the game of Handball and was still playing into his late 80's!! He attributed his longevity to his passion for keeping fit via exercise and various sports.
He was a loving, kind, respectful, gentle man who exemplified what humanity should strive to be.
His "Toast" at meals will always be remembered and cherished-
"Saluda Pasedos Y Tiempo Para Castarlos, Cheers!" (written as heard)
Where this comes from is unknown but sounds great when he said it!
"Here's to your health, your wealth and plenty of time to spend both!" May we all live up to that!
Harry- From now on, every day is a good day to fly!
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Published by Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Aug. 14, 2016.