John P. Oakes
June 22, 2023
Our beloved Jack passed away June 7th at home on Puget Island surrounded by his family and friends. He was born in Portland, Oregon, April 2, 1947, son of Harold and Lois Oakes. He and his brother, Brian, grew up on Yamhill Street next to Mt. Tabor Park. He attended Benson Polytechnic H. S. where his father taught for 30 years.
Jack became a skilled mechanic and machinist. He used his mechanical knowledge, skill, and inventiveness to help his family, friends, and neighbors. He was a quiet man with a kind heart who lived his belief that people should take care of each other. He enjoyed building and riding motorcycles and also building boats and sailing on the Columbia River.
Jack went to sea at 19, starting out as a deckhand before attending the Marine Engineering School at the Calhoun Institute of Marine Technology. He worked his way up to Chief Engineer for American President Lines over a 30+ year career. In 1972, he married Barbara Fisher, and they built a 32 ft. Tahiti ketch. Together, they sailed along the west coast of the U. S. and Canada and to Hawaii.
In 1980, Jack and Barbara moved to Puget Island where they raised their daughters, Elizabeth and Molly. He loved coming home to Puget Island, bringing presents from exotic places and spending time with his family. Eventually, he was able to share his love of being on the water with his whole family. Rebuilding and remodeling a 63 ft. ketch with his wife, daughters, and close friends, he gave us the gift of adventure and a sense of independence while learning more about the world, sailing the west coast and across the Pacific Ocean.
After ensuring both his daughters received good educations, Jack continued adventuring with his wife along the Pacific Northwest coast aboard the sailing vessel Rysing Tyde, in the lower Columbia river aboard the motor vessel Viking Lady, and across the U. S. by truck and camp trailer. He continued living his own dreams and supporting his family in theirs.
In recent years, Jack had been enjoying spending more time on Puget Island among the beautiful orchard, garden, woodlot, and fields he and his wife had envisioned and developed. He loved the lower Columbia, faithfully feeding a flock of songbirds and hummingbirds, keeping track of osprey nesting pairs, and building a network of friendships. Jack is survived by his wife, Barbara, his two daughters, Elizabeth and Molly, his brother, Brian, and numerous friends. We all miss him and are grateful for the time we had with a very special husband, father, friend, and truly one of a kind person.
- Paid Obituary -