Charles “Charlie” Oakes, 89, of Athens, died Saturday, July 6, 2019, at Life Care Center of Athens. Charles was born March 26, 1930 in Knoxville, to the late Elmer B. and Hula Barr Oakes. He was a very active member of Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Athens, where he served as greeter for many years, and was a member of the Friendship Sunday School Class. He was a graduate of Madisonville High School and married Eva Grace Thomas on Aug. 25, 1949. He farmed for five years before joining the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 25, 1954. Charles completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and remained there 11 months and was assigned to Nana Air Force base in Okinawa. Later assignments included Orlando, Fla., Spangdahlem, Germany, Seymour Johnson, N.C., Ubon, Thailand, and K.I. Sawyer, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He and Eva were able to live most of his military service together, living with a German family for almost three years in Speicher, Germany. Charles ended his 20 years of military service at Robin Air Force Base in Georgia in 1974 and moved to Athens. He then attended Cleveland State Community College and graduated there while working at Athens Products. He transferred to Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and worked eight years as an Engineer Aide and Quality Control Electrical Inspector. He retired from TVA in August 1988. He played lead guitar with country bands at certain airbases in the states and overseas. He had been a long-time member of the McMinn Senior Activity Center, where he played guitar. He was an active gardener and enjoyed doing oil painting that he shared with family and friends. He enjoyed traveling and traveled in all states except Alaska. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Eva Thomas Oakes of Athens; two nieces, Sondra (Robert) Vaughn of Germantown, N.C., and Kristin (Rodney) Rouse of Madison, N.C.; and nephew, Steve (Paula) King of High Point, N.C. A funeral service was conducted at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church with the Rev. Steve King, Dr. Charles Ensminger and the Rev. Charla Sherbakoff officiating. The committal service was held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at McMinn Memory Gardens. The family received friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the church prior to the service. Pallbearers were Tim Sharp, Tanner Collins, Chris Meadows, Michael Bryant, Jared Wright, and Charles Littleton. The family suggests memorials be made to Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Decatur Pike, Athens, TN 37303; or a charity of your choice. If you are unable to attend this service or visitation, sign the guest register at www.smithfuneralandcremationservicesofathens.com Smith Funeral & Cremation Services of Athens was honored to serve the family of Charles “Charlie” Oakes.

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