|Oakley Lee was born March 25, 1908, in Frankfort, Kentucky. He was the son of Reverend and Mrs. Llewellyn Lee. He was married to Elva June English on March 9, 1930. Three children were born to this happy union: Betty June (Mrs. George V. Wolfe), Richard English (deceased) and Douglas.
Oakley graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College receiving his A. B. degree in 1931. In 1945 he did post-graduate study at Iliff School of Theology. Oakley began his ministry at the age of 18 in Kentucky, as the pastor of the Washington, Kentucky Charge. He was received in the Kentucky Conference, on trial, in 1929; and in Full Connection in 1931; Ordained Deacon 1931; and Elder in 1933.
He transferred to the Louisiana Annual Conference in 1938 beginning his ministry here at Houma, where he organized and built the House Heights Methodist Church. Some of his other pastorates in Louisiana were Winbourne (Baton Rouge), Farmerville, St. Mark’s (New Orleans), Leesville, Inglewood, Welsh and Oak Park. In 1968 he began his ministry at the Louisiana Correctional and Industrial School at DeQuincy, Louisiana.
He retired from the active Conference Relationship in 1969. He not only had a rich and significant ministry in the pastorate, but an outstanding military record which earned for him a well-deserved commendation from President Ronald Reagan.
His military record of which he was justly proud, is as follows: “He was commissioned 1st.Lt. USAAF-1941. Advanced through grades to Colonel-1947. Stations: Chaplain, Ft. Polk, Louisiana-1941, Battalion Chaplain, 14th Training Battalion; Infantry Battalion, Macon, Georgia-1941; Transferred to 8th Air Force and stationed at Burtonwood Air Depot, EngLand-1942; Area Chaplain Base Air Depot, Europe 1944-45; (total of 3 years overseas service); Wing Chaplain Lowery AFB, Denver, Colorado 1945-46; 1st. Air Force Chaplain, Ft. Slocum, New York 1947; Wing Chaplain Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Illinois, 1947-50.” He retired in 1968 with the rank of Colonel in the Air Force.
During his ministry in the Louisiana Conference, he served on several Conference Boards and Committees with distinction as follows: “Member Commission on Peace and World Order, Louisiana Conference 1956-60; Methodist Information and Publicity 1960-64; Christian Social Concerns 1964-68; Board of Homes and Hospitals; Committee on Investigations: served as Chairman of Board of Mission (Lake Charles District); Committee on Locations, and “Louisiana Methodist” Chairman.
In addition to his work in the pastorate he was a Master Mason. He worked with the Boy Scouts, Rotary Club, American Legion and other community interests.
Oakley’s life was an example of loving and caring service to others as indicated in his pastorates and military service. He gave of himself in an unstinted way. He loved his place of service in the United Methodist Church. He was greatly loved by both his peers in the ministry and the laity. He passed on to his eternal reward on December 31, 1986, after a very brief illness.
As one contemplates his life and ministry, one is confident that he entered the Father’s house of many rooms. He read the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” It was a commendation well deserved.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1987; p. 317-318 By Carl F. Lueg|