Boats 03

Stevan Richard Oakley

May 5, 1958 ~ October 12, 2023 (age 65) 65 Years Old

Stevan Oakley Obituary

Stevan Richard Oakley, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, passed away peacefully in his home on October 12, 2023, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Born in Garden City, Michigan in 1958, Steve moved with his family to Lake City, MI in 1973. He excelled in football, basketball and track, receiving all-conference honors, and graduated as salutatorian of Lake City High School in 1976. More importantly, Steve met his soulmate and best friend Virginia Quist during this time. They married in 1977 and went on to celebrate 46 years of marriage. Together, they built a home in Douglas, Michigan, raised two beloved children, Alex and Kara, and delighted in their granddaughters, Lyla and Kallan.

Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Western Michigan University in 1980 and was hired as an electrical engineer at Palisades Nuclear Plant, where he worked to ensure the safe, effective operation of the plant for more than 40 years. In 1984, he became one of the first System Engineering Supervisors, and in 1990 he earned his Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) License. He was also an Operations Procedure Supervisor and Sponsor, and used his expertise to teach electrical theory to aspiring license holders. Friend and colleague Dave Campbell recalls his encyclopedic knowledge of engineering, adding “Not only was he knowledgeable but his calm demeanor, non-condescending attitude, and willingness to share made him a great supervisor and fellow employee.”

Steve’s contributions to the Saugatuck-Douglas community were extensive. He served on the school board for Saugatuck Public Schools, and for more than a decade on the Saugatuck Douglas Library Board. Library Director Ingrid Boyer recalls how “Even after retiring from the board, Steve continued to support the library as a volunteer. He spent countless hours on the building site for the new library, overseeing work and advising the library director. His dedication to the project and engineering expertise were critical to the successful completion of the building.”

Steve was a doer – happy when he was building or fixing something, sailing and working on their sailboat, building a barn and chicken coop, looking for cars, bicycles, or tools online. Friends, relatives, and neighbors could count on Steve to have the tools and advice they might need. Steve was always happy to be outside, puttering in the yard and woods, tapping trees and boiling maple syrup for neighbors and friends.

Steve’s top focus was his family. Steve gave his heart, time, and energy to his family, who knew they could count on him for support during times of both joy and difficulty. He loved holidays and family trips to New Mexico and Florida, riding roller coasters with his kids, and cycling, camping, and kayaking with Virginia. He held his family close with strength and comfort as they mourned the sudden passing of Alex in 2021. In recent years, he and Virginia found peace in nature, kayaking and going for caravan adventures with Alex’s dog, Amari. Steve was also an active grandparent and enjoyed swimming with his granddaughters, watching their favorite TV shows, playing board games, and making them pancakes every morning when they were together.

Steve taught his family so much about living, about taking risks and being adventurous. About being positive and living in the moment. About love and courage. Steve will be deeply missed, and his memory held close.

Steve is survived by his wife Virginia Oakley; daughter Kara Bodine and son-in-law Erik Bodine; granddaughters Lyla and Kallan Bodine; siblings Karen (William Knarian) Oakley and Darrell Oakley; in-laws Karen Donnelly, Lois (Karl) Schripsema; nieces/nephews Jeff, Theresa, John, Laura, and Kenny. He was preceded in death by his son, Alex Oakley; brother David Oakley; parents Richard and Janet Oakley.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations made to the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library.

Saugatuck-Douglas District Library

174 Center Street

PO Box 789

Douglas, MI 49406

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