Thomas V. Oakes
April 1, 1930 – November 23, 2020 (age 90)
Thomas Valentine Oakes, 90, of Terre Haute, Indiana, died there on Monday, November 23, 2020.
He was born on April Fool’s Day, 1930 on a farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey, the son of Thomas J. and Valentina (née Kowalski) Oakes.
Tom enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and served in Alaska as a cryptographer, making him one of the very few men of his generation to learn to type. He met his future wife, the former Leah (Tommie) Hoskins in Colorado Springs, Colorado during the last posting of his enlistment. They married, had two children, and became grandparents in 1984. Tommie died in 2002.
He leaves behind his children Susan and Morgan, and his grandson Sean.
Tom was an accomplished musician, and he played the guitar from his teenage years until shortly before his death. He taught himself to play the pedal bass, making himself something of a one-man band. He provided the entertainment for the Oakes’ annual holiday parties, some of which ended with the neighbors calling the police. He entertained several generations of young nieces and nephews, playing the guitar and singing them songs from his childhood such as “I Faw Down An’ Go Boom!”
Tom loved bad jokes, animals, and the thirty acres of land he bought in the mid-1970s. Neighbors report having observed him on his riding mower after work, still dressed in a suit and tie, mowing the lawn.
In 1995, he retired from a career in sales and spent most of the rest of his life on what he called “The Farm,” marveling at how lucky he was to own that spot of land. He was gracious, outgoing, pragmatic, and self-reliant.
Private interment will be at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens. A memorial gathering will take place once the coronavirus is not a constraint, at a time to be announced.