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George Frank Oakes

Services for George Frank Oakes of McComb are 10 a.m. Thursday,Oct. 14 at Centenary United Methodist Church in McComb with burialin Hollywood Cemetery. The Rev. Lonnie Joe Hallberg willofficiate.

Visitation is 5-8 p.m. today at Hartman Funeral Home inMcComb.

Mr. Oakes died from complications that set in after he fell atPercy Quin State Park Oct. 2, 2004. He was at the park assistingwith the annual Multiple Sclerosis Tour for Cure event, one of hismany civic projects, when the accident occurred.

He was born in Murphy on Sept. 14, 1928, to George Frank OakesSr. and Connie Thomas Oakes.

Mr. Oakes moved to McComb in 1965 as executive director of theSouthwest Mississippi Regional Development District. He previouslylived and worked in economic development in Brookhaven.

Later he was director of the McComb Chamber of Commerce and theMetro-Pike Industrial Foundation organizations that have sinceevolved into the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the PikeCounty Economic Development Foundation.

During his tenure as Pike County’s economic developmentprofessional, the Metro-Pike Industrial Park, which now is thelocation of several industries and which recently was expanded, wasdeveloped.

When Mr. Oakes resigned in 1982, then McComb Mayor Robert Ingramsaid, “The new Metro-Pike Industrial Park will stand as a permanentmonument to Frank’s efforts.”

Mr. Oakes later worked for a Jackson architectural firm and anindustry. In recent years, he was best known for his volunteerwork.

Among his endeavors were literacy efforts throughout the region.In 1996 the Governor’s Office of Literacy chose him to direct itsprogram in Southwest Mississippi. In 2003, he received the lifetimeachievement award from the Mississippi Institutions of HigherLearning’s Office of Literacy.

He also was active in juvenile justice projects and adulteducation.

At the time of his death, Mr. Oakes was serving as foreman ofthe Pike County Grand Jury, the second time he had been assignedsuch duty.

John S. Thompson, who served as McComb’s mayor for part of Mr.Oakes’ tenure as local economic developer, observed Monday that”Frank had an extremely good knowledge of people in Mississippi whowere power brokers. I have never known anyone who knew more peopleand he used that knowledge in his life’s work.”

He graduated from Mississippi State University, where he playedin the band in 1949.

He was a lifelong Methodist, a former longtime Rotarian and aSunday School teacher.

Survivors include his wife Betty Carr Oakes; his sons, FrankOakes of Franklin, Tenn., and Scott Oakes of McComb; his daughters,Ky Oakes Stubblefield of Batesville, and Lea Oakes Touchstone ofMcComb; his brothers, Robert Oakes of Raymond, Jack Oakes ofKinston, N.C., and Ed Oakes of East Aboga, Ala.; his sisters, GraceClarke of Hollandale, and Jean Murphy of Dallas, Texas; and fivegrandchildren, Shannon Stubblefield Jackson, Wesley Oakes, AshleyOakes, Caroline Touchstone and Kade Touchstone.

Pallbearers will be Doug Touchstone, Roger Graves, Wesley Oakes,Robert Oakes, Buck Clarke and David Clarke.

Honorary pallbearers will be Johnny Balser, Robert WhiteBrumfield, Donald Dick, Joe Giacone, Dr. Tom Jeffcoat, Gene Jones,Bobby Maddox, R.B. Reeves, Jewel Rushing, John H. Thompson, LeonWilliamson and Harvey Vest.

Memorials may be sent to Centenary United Methodist Church,Frank Oakes Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 712, McComb MS 39629.