American Veteran 09

Harry DeVere Oakley

July 6, 1935 ~ October 10, 2020 (age 85)


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Harry Oakley, age 85, of Holstein, Iowa died Saturday, October 10, following a battle with cancer. He passed away at home surrounded by the comfort and care his daughters. A private family funeral mass will be held at the Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church of Holstein.  Officiating the service will be Msgr. Kenneth A. Seifried.  Burial will be at the Calvary Cemetery of Holstein with military rites conducted by the American Legion Dessel-Schmidt Post #225 of Holstein. 

Harry Oakley was born July 6, 1935 to Margaret Ruth Hogan and Harry Donald Oakley at home in Hiawatha, Iowa.  He graduated from Marion High School in 1953 where he was a four sport star athlete.  He continued his love of basketball well into his 50’s, playing pick-up games with family and friends often 20 years younger than him.  Many of these games were played on the elementary playground.  Upon graduating high school, he attended Iowa State University, participating in ROTC, graduating as a Ceramics Engineer. Harry married Martha Ann Young in September 17, 1955 in Marion, Iowa, to this union five children were born: Martha, Sean, Mary, Harry and Katie.  

After a brief sojourn as an engineer in Buffalo, NY, Harry returned to the Air Force, attending OCS and flight school. Harry was in active duty for 7 years, his remaining military service in the Air National Guard, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.  His passion for flying continued in a 32-year career with TWA as an international pilot.

He was active in the local and national politics, participating in the Republican Party at all levels.  Harry was a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church and Kiwanis.

Harry and Ann enjoyed following their children and grandchildren’s activities. They spent their retirement years living in their homes at Spirit Lake and Holstein. Following Ann’s death and Harry’s health complications, he lived in Holstein full time until his passing. Harry will be fondly remembered for his ceaseless encouragement of all to be lifelong learners.  As well as for his enjoyment of hunting, fishing and reading.

Harry is survived by his children, Martha (Mike) Stout, Sean (Dave) Easterby, Mary (Morgan) Oakley-McAreavy, Harry Oakley, Katie (Scott) McKenzie; grandchildren, Adam (Andrea) Stout, Martha Ann (Scott) Sibbel, Megan (Brian) Sibbel, Steven (Emily) Easterby, Michael Easterby, Rebecca (Alex) Vojslavek and Grace Easterby, Madeline (Jamison) Voss, Patrick (Sarah Minion) McAreavy, Annie (Ben Nigg) McAreavy, Taylor (Dolan Guhin) Oakley, Regan (Nolan) Christians, Sydney, Harry and Lincoln Oakley and Ian (Courtney Neuendorf ), Sean and Sarah McKenzie; and great-grandchildren, Claire, Will and Juliet Stout, Anthony and Ellie Sibbel, Mason and Myla Sibbel, Carter and Blakely Christians, and Penelope and Ite Voss. He is also survived by sister, Diane (Denny) Ellis and sister-in-law Ann Bennett; niece, Michelle (Coleman) Reich; nephews, Bernie and Alexander Helm, and former daughter-in-law, Lora Johnson.

Harry is preceded in death by his father, Harry Oakley; his mother and step-father, Margaret and Joe Bennett; his brother, Joe Bennett Jr.; parents-in-law, Martha and Ralph Young; brother and sister-in-law, George and Leona Young; nephew, Rodney Young and niece, Tracie Young Helm.

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