'Course in a local obit, you're pretty well limited to praising the dead, but here online we can say what we want, so long as it's not slander or libel. I can tell you that likeable old Oakie s was one of the laziest newspaper people I ever knew and that's a high, high bar. The business is filled with gold bricks.
The first time I was exposed to Oakie's photos (so to speak), I was working layout on a Friday night in the sports department and about 8:15, Oakie comes in with photos from a game at William Fleming High, probably 15 minutes away. He had been there for a 7:30 game, shot pictures, got back to the office, processed the film, made and dried the prints and delivered them to me in 45 minutes.
The "action shots" he turned in were of the guys shooting layups in warmups. It never occurred to Oakie that the scoreboard clock in the background reading 0:00 might give him away. He always turned in rosters so we knew who was in the photos, but instead of copying them from the scorebook like other photographers and sportswriters, Oakie photo'd and turned in the picture. You could make it out yourself, thank you very much.
I miss guys and gals like the Oaks. Colorful, ballsy men and women who could do their jobs, have a good time and give you stories to tell your grandkids.
(Roanoke Times photo.)