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Funeral Ceremony: 11 a.m. Saturday, December 5, 2020, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home
Interment: Elmwood Cemetery, Flora
Visitation: 4-7 p.m. Friday evening, December 4, 2020, at the funeral home
“Judy Kay Stover Oakes would like to let you know that after 79 years, her work here is done. She will be watching over you from heaven, so be good.”
That’s as far as she got in writing her own obituary, at least all we could find. She always said she would write it herself, but like dozens of art projects, this too, will be left to us to finish.
Judy Kay Stover Oakes was born June 14, 1941, in Centralia, Illinois, to Howard “Smokey” Stover and Thelma Cooper Stover LeClear. She was their only daughter, a middle child between two brothers whom she loved dearly. Judy spent her childhood moving around Illinois and Michigan due to her father’s job and graduated from East Richland High School in Olney, Illinois, in 1959.
In 1961, she met Donald Leon Oakes while dancing with friends (and her mom!) at The Blue Note in Albion, Michigan. It was a fast courtship, and on September 16, 1961, they were married by her grandfather at the First Baptist Church in Albion, Michigan.
Don’s work for Halliburton soon took them to Port Huron, Michigan, and then quickly to Fort Bragg, North Carolina when Don was drafted into the Army. There, they had their daughter, Robin Kay Oakes Atwood, in November 1962. In April 1964, Don was discharged from the 82nd Airborne and Electronics Special Warfare Board of the Army and was transferred to work for Halliburton in Flora, Illinois, where they lived for 25 years.
During their time in Flora, Judy had a son, Jeffrey Don Oakes, in June 1967. Judy was well-known in Flora for her striking looks (jet black beehive, dark olive skin, bright cobalt eyes, tall thin figure), and for the vibrancy she brought to all around her. In Flora, she was known for many things: being voted Quasquicentennial Queen; fitting thousands for glasses as an optician at Dr. John B. Jaycox’s office; and for decorating windows at The Country Squire in downtown Flora, to name but a few. She was a regular coffee drinker at The Ranch Steakhouse, where she laughed until she cried, and occasionally cried until she laughed. She attended the First Baptist Church of Flora, where she sang in multiple cantatas (her favorite was Old Time Religion), was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, and had a hand in starting the Elderwalk and Appleknocker Festival in Flora. In 1978, Judy became a grandmother, and was soon known as “Judy” and “Mimi” to those who loved her most.
Don declined multiple promotions at Halliburton throughout the years due to Judy’s refusal to move her kids during their school years (as she had done as a child), but in 1989, Don’s job at Halliburton moved them to Shreveport, Louisiana, and eventually, to Oklahoma City. They stayed in Oklahoma until Don was 3 blocks from the Oklahoma City Bombing and they both decided it was time for retirement to their favorite vacation spot: Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
In 1995, after vacationing on Estero Island for over 25 years, they started living the “Salt Life” in Fort Myers Beach - first, in a condominium, where they established a fun friend group, and after a year, to a cottage on the bay - a fixer upper that, with Don’s craftsmanship and Judy’s vision, they beautifully rebuilt. Judy’s lifelong goal had been to live on the beach, and she thoroughly enjoyed her slice of paradise. She lived a rich life in Florida - painting, selling artwork, working for the Chamber of Commerce, and welcoming family and friends to her humble cottage on the beach. Their cottage is not large by today’s standards, but her beauty and artistic flair touches every surface, and it was her heart’s desire to make her cottage as unique and welcoming as she was.
Throughout life and locations, Judy was known as a talented artist. From her artwork shirts (in the 80s!), to her woodworking collaborations with Don; from oils to watercolors; Judy could always find a way to make everything whimsical and beautiful. Her work has been commissioned and sold, and she would tell you, “hung in bathrooms all over the world!” She loved to joke that she created bathroom art, pieces good enough for the loo, but not for the dining room. She always looked at the world as a project she wanted to make pretty, and what we saw as scraps, junk, and trash, she envisioned as treasures and artwork.
Judy painted her life with color and laughter, making friends at every town, perfume counter, and beach shop she visited. She lived for vibrancy, always wanting more out of life than what she had, always making the things in her world more beautiful. She loved the beach, the sun, the waves, but mostly, she loved laughing with her family and friends.
Judy died November 24, 2020, in Healthpark Hospital (not of COVID!), being loved, hugged, and cherished by those she cherished most in life. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Glenn Edward Stover and Michael David Stover; and many beloved friends - all who, we know, welcomed her to heaven with love, tears, and plenty of laughter.
Her heartbroken survivors include: Don Oakes, Robin (Bill) Atwood, Jeff (Libbie) Oakes, Matthew (Tracy) Atwood, Shannon (John) Hurliman, Nathan (Courtney) Atwood, Laura (James) Beeson, Dillon (Katie) Oakes, Taylor Oakes, and Mychal Atwood. She was beloved by 10 great-grandchildren who will forever miss her silly ways, and an innumerable amount of friends who are considered family.
A funeral ceremony will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, December 5, 2020, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora. Interment will follow in Elmwood Cemetery, Flora. Visitation will be Friday evening, December 4, 2020, from 4-7 p.m at the funeral home. In accordance with an Illinois mandate masks will be required, and social distancing guidelines will be followed. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Clay County Animal Rescue and Shelter (CCARS) or to the Judy Oakes Art Scholarship Fund in care of the Flora Academic Foundation and will be accepted through the funeral home. To share a memory or condolence visit: www.frankandbright.com
My condolences to you at the passing of your previous loved one. She will be missed by all who knew her. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Godspeed on your journey dear lady.
Heaven gained a beautiful angel today. Keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers....big hugs
We are so sorry for your loss and are saddened to hear this news. It’s hard to believe that this kind, talented and classy has left us so unexpectedly. I’ll always remember her vibrant personality, her singing voice , her pretty white hair and her beautiful smile. She was always so kind and gracious to me. Don, Robin, Bill, Jeff and Libbie - you and your families are in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless and comfort you now and in the days ahead. Fly high with the angels and sing with the heavenly choir dear Judy Kay❣️
Heaven has another great Angel to watch over Dandy, her kids and grandkids and gobs of friends will be missing her plus Sophie too. God's Love
May her soul rest in eternal glory and may you all feel her peace and serenity. Hugs.
Prayers and hugs to the family
Heaven gained a beautiful angel, for sure.
Absolutely No words can Express the Love I have for Judy. She was in my family's life long before I was born. She lived with my Grandparents and Mom to finish her high school at Olney. The fun her and Mom shared throughout the year's PRICELESS 💙 I looked up to Jud as she did my Grandma, They were both the Classiest Ladies! From Jewels, perfumes, clothes, shoes, purses to their beauty from head to toes!! Fly high my BEAUTIFUL Judy, give all our loved ones a big Hug and Kiss from Kimber🥰My Thoughts, Prayers, Hugs and Comfort to Don, Sophie, Robin and families, Jeff and families Heaven gained One BEAUTIFUL lady who will forever be missed and remembered with LOVE💙
She helped us all see the world through a different lens and for that we're all better people and were blessed to have known her. Our hearts and thoughts are with Uncle Don, Robin, Jeff and all the rest of her blessed family.
Sending my Sympathy to Judy’s Family, Judy attended Farina LaGrove in my class of 59, Judy’s Grandparents Pastor & Mrs Cooper was our Pastor At FarinaSouthern Baptist Church, Judy had a lot Friends in Farina, she was a good friend to us all. Judy Thrash Wheeler
Continuing to pray for your family. Judy was so full of life. She will be sorely missed until we see her again in heaven where I am sure she is spreading her creativity .
So sorry for your loss..I always enjoyed conversations with Judy..a talented beautiful woman...
She was a beautiful lady, such a sweet, sweet smile..loved to visit with her..so sorry for your loss
“We will never be the same as we were before this great loss, but ever so much better for having had someone so great to lose.” Rest In Peace, my dear friend!
So sad to see her passing she has always been a joy to talk with and will be missed immensely always a family friend.
Very sorry for yr loss. Always such a beauty.
Prayers and hugs for everyone. Judy was such a kind lady, she will be missed greatly. God’s speed.
So sorry for loss. Thoughts and prayers for Judy's family. She was a beautiful lady inside and out.
We are so so sorry to hear this. May God comfort you all.
Of all things I am sure about, it is that Heaven is a Brighter, Lovelier place than it was before Judy arrived. So many memories of this beautiful unique lady of the sea...may God provide you all with his comfort.
This is a wonderful tribute to a beautiful woman.
We have so enjoyed getting to know Judy since our son, John, married her granddaughter, Shannon, in 2005. We saw her on many occasions and always had lots of laughs with her! We remember her from her time working at Dr. Jaycox’s office and as a client with her pets at our veterinary clinic. We will miss her greatly, but are happy for the time we were able to spend with her. 🙂💕
Condolences to the family...
What a beautiful tribute!! We did not know her but feel as though we did after the lovely memorial that chronicled her life. Prayers for your family and deepest sympathies.
Although I never met Judy, I feel she was my friend. We hooked up on FB, and we had a lot of things in common. Her sense of humor was unique and contagious!! I was quite shocked when I saw her obituary. I know she’s already made her mark in heaven and she will have eternal life. My sympathy to her family, and prayers for strength to get through this terribly difficult time. 🙏❤️
Robin and family, prayers you feel the comfort of God’s arms wrapped around you as you face this difficult time. With deepest sympathy.
So Sorry for ur Loss! Prayers for the Family!!!
My heart is heavy, but how wonderful to have all of the Oakes memories within me. I loved Judy dearly. Prayers for all.
We send our condolences to Don and all your family. Judy was a special lady that will never be forgotten. Find comfort in your beautiful memories.
Truly a Lady. Judy was always a joy with an amazing smile, prayers to all the family.
My thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family at this difficult time. Judy was such a beautiful lady— and—- always fun to be with. She will be missed.
So very sorry for the loss of your mother. God Bless you and your family.
My heart is broken to hear about Judy. She was special beyond words. Love to you all.
SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR MOTHER!!! SHE WAS ALWAYS A VERY NICE PERSON!!!🙏🏻🤧❤️
With our Deepest Sympathy. So sorry for your loss.
Judy was such a beautiful lady inside & out! I loved her humor & smile. God hold each of you in his arms in your time of loss. Prayers!
Our deepest Sympathy for the family. Though our loved ones must be absent from hearts that love them so. In the presence of the Master there’s more love than we can know. May God Comfort you in your time of sorrow. Prayers