Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home and Cremation Services

Samuel Leroy Oakes


Samuel Leroy Oakes, Jr. was born on September 6, 1935 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Edith Rines Oakes (Huggins) and Samuel Leroy Oakes. Although Sam was an only child, he grew up with his first cousins Harold White and Lavena Weaver. He spent most of his childhood years between living with his grandmother, Edith Rines in Talbott, TN and his mother in Knoxville. He graduated from East High School in 1953 where he was an honorable mention all-state football player known as “Ironman” Oakes. On December 26, 1953, Sam married his high school sweetheart Sammye Fritz.

After serving in the US Army, Sam and Sammye Oakes settled in West Knox county in Cedar Bluff Subdivision where they raised their three children Samuel David (deceased), Jeffrey Paul, and Lora Anne Dowling. Between Managing Fountain Lanes Bowling Alley and retiring from Rohm and Haas Chemical Inc., Sam was known to say he had been a “jack of all trades but a master of none”.

Sam had three passions in his life. The first and foremost was the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. After years of religious dullness, God encountered Sam in a real tangible way that forever shaped his life and family. His primary aim was to honor the Lord Jesus in whatever way he could. From preaching in prisons, visiting hospitals, and going to many different nations sharing the good news, Sam wanted to make Jesus’ name great throughout the earth. He wanted others to experience the life changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, He loved his wife of almost 65 years. So much so that he fought hard to outlive her so she would not have to experience the pain of losing a spouse. He succeeded by 50 days. Lastly, everyone that knew Sam would agree, it’s a toss-up between fishing and racquetball.

He is survived by his two children, Jeff and his wife Kathy Oakes, Lora and her husband Lynn Dowling and David’s wife, Kathy O. Flynn. He also has 12 grandchildren and their spouses and 16 great grandchildren with 2 on the way.

For over 20 years, Sam was a faithful member of Trinity Chapel in Knoxville, TN, and for the last 12 years he has been a committed member of Hosanna Fellowship in Johnson City, TN.

There will be Receiving of Friends on Sunday November 4, 2018 from 2:00-3:00. A Memorial Life Service will be held at 3:00 at Hosanna Fellowship 715 Sunset Drive, Johnson City, TN 37604. Interment services will be conducted 11:00 am Monday, November 5, 2018 at Woodhaven Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens 160 Edgemoor Rd. Powell, TN 37849.

The Church Family is hosting a dessert reception immediately following which will serve as an additional ‘Receiving of Friends’ time. In Lieu of flowers the family asks you to make donations to Hosanna Fellowship for the Jeff Oakes Mission Fund 715 Sunset Dr. Johnson City, TN 37604.

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Carolyn Ellis Cottrell
I graduated from East High with Sam and I considered us great, special friends. I knew his mother from buying shoes at Baker's. One of our class members talked to Sam about our monthly luncheon on next Tuesday and I had planned to call Sam today to remind him of it!! I am so very sorry I did not call him earlier and had no idea he was this close to joining Sammye. I knew Sam to be a dedicated Christian man and I know that will be a comfort to the family he leaves behind. Be assured my thoughts are with all of you. I grieve with you. A wonderful man has left this earth, but we know he is in a much more beautiful place!!
Ramon and Elizabeth Lee
We knew Sam for many years. He was a good example of what a Christian should be - a light! I ministered several years in prison ministering with Sam. He will be missed but he has arrived into paradise with Jesus and we join with you in celebrating this. May God give you His comfort during this time. Love, Ramon and Elizabeth
Charlene Drinnen Elliott
I went to East High with Sam and Sammye. They were beloved by their class mates because they were one of the few high school couples that proved "Young Loves" can be "until death do us part". What a joyful reunion there must have been on Thursday. Rejoicing for them, but my deepest condolences for those left behind. May the Peace and Comfort of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Doug & Tammy Price
Sam and Sammye Oakes were two of the most precious people we have ever known in our lives. Each one, special and honorable in their own right. They will forever live on in the lives of those who knew and loved them both! We will be praying for the family through this difficult time of loss.
Ann Norman
I met Sam several years ago at Lifestyles. He helped me with the basics of raquetball and a friendship was born. He was a gentleman in every way and always smiling. I will miss him and his encouragement on the court.
Vicki Stockton
I knew Sam from Lifestyles gym. He was always was so upbeat and funny. He was always the one you could open up to.... When I had brain surgery we prayed together at the gym. I will miss his smiling face and his friendship.
Cherry Smith
I will always remember Sam's smile and his love for children! How gracious he was to all of us in Celebration choir! My prayers and thoughts are with all of you! He is certainly in his Father's presence!