Harry DeVere Oakley

HOLSTEIN – Private family services for Harry Oakley, 85, of Holstein will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Holstein. Officiating was Msgr. Kenneth A. Seifried. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery at Holstein, with military rites by American Legion Dessel-Schmidt Post #225 at Holstein. Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home in Holstein is in charge of arrangements.

He died Oct. 10, 2020, following a battle with cancer. He died at home, surrounded by the comfort and care of his daughters.

Harry Oakley was born July 6, 1935, to Margaret Ruth Hogan and Harry Donald Oakley at home in Hiawatha. 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 50s, 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 from high school, he attended Iowa State University, participating in ROTC, graduating as a ceramics engineer. Harry married Martha Ann Young Sept. 17, 1955, in Marion. To this union, five children were born: Martha, Sean, Mary, Harry and Katie.

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

He was active in 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 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 death. He 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 and Katie (Scott) McKenzie.

Also surviving are his 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) and Sean and Sarah McKenzie.

Additional survivors include his 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 a sister, Diane (Denny) Ellis; a sister-in-law, Ann Bennett; a niece, Michelle (Coleman) Reich; two nephews, Bernie and Alexander Helm; and a former daughter-in-law, Lora Johnson.

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

Online condolences can be made at nicklasdjensenfh.com.