Kenneth Westfield Oakley Jr., 60, of Denver, NC passed away suddenly on September 24, 2017 in Charlotte, NC. Born on September 2, 1957 in Jacksonville, Florida, he was the son of the late Kenneth and Edna Oakley
Ken learned to fly at the age of 16 and decided that he wanted to be a professional pilot. He attended Embrey-Riddle University on an Air Force Scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering and later earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Arizona State University. After he was Honorably Discharged from The United States Air Force, Ken flew for a regional airline in Kansas and then joined America West in Phoenix, Arizona. He was proud to be an American Airline Pilot and considered himself the most fortunate of men to be able to make his living doing what he loved.
Ken will be remembered as a man full of life and spirit. He was charismatic with a heart filled with love, adventure and determination. His life was ended too soon but he will be loved and missed dearly by his family and friends.
Ken is survived by his wife, Irina Efimova Oakley; daughter Sheena Christiansen and her husband Aaron of Phoenix, Arizona; grandsons Brady and Brycen; stepdaughter Katya Losakar of the home and sisters, Suzanne Kirby and Pam Pereira.
Ken learned to fly at Goose Creek Airport in Indian Trail, North Carolina. A Celebration of Kens Life was celebrated there on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 6 PM.
Ken, though we hadn’t seen you for several years since you moved from Arizona, we certainly never forgot about you. You will be greatly missed! We’re honored to have known you over the past 30 years. May our Heavenly Father hold you in his arms of comfort and love. God Bless Ken Oakley and our Prayers are with his wife, family and friends in North Carolina and Arizona.
“At night when we look to the skies and see a twinkling star that shines brighter than the rest, we know that’s where you are.” – Unknown author
Nancy Keane – Scottsdale, AZ.
We never met formally. I used to go to 6:30 AM Mass and I always wanted to introduce myself but I never did. I enjoyed our unspoken fellowship at mass.
I will personally remember Ken for his tenacity, humor, kindness to strangers, ability to strike up conversations with anyone, fearless spirt of adventure, generosity, easy laugh and his great love of flying aircraft small and large. My sister’s and I join in the grief over the loss of Ken and offer our heartfelt prayers to his family, his many friends and his colleagues. Ken – may you rest in the peace and love of Our Lord. In honor and remembrance of Ken’s love of flight, I include below a poem called “High Flight”, composed by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.,WWI Royal Air Force pilot, 1941. Godspeed Ken.
High Flight – Aviators Poem
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.
I’m very saddened to read this. I lost touch with Ken in 2016. However, during is Harley journey, we talked almost everyday on the phone. He was so full of life, had some difficult times but definitely a man of his word. I thought I would say hello to Ken, instead I found his obituary. I’m very sad, shocked and wish his family well. He always spoke highly of Sheena. Very sad…..
Thank you for your memory of Ken. Andrea
My dear and beloved husband we talk to each other for the last time in 2012. You were, and always will be on my mind and in my heart. Thank you for everyday hour and day I could share and live with you in AZ and TX.
You will be always remembered.
My dear and beloved ex husband we talk to each other for the last time in 2012. You were, and always will be on my mind and in my heart. Thank you for everyday hour and day I could share and live with you in AZ and TX.
You will be always remembered for your love, and kindness.
I am shocked to learn of Ken’s passing. I found out only yesterday since I had lost touch with him many years ago. We were close friends in Phoenix Arizona where we were neighbors and hung out together when we were both single. I was one if the best men at his wedding in Phoenix.
Just searched internet to locate and reconnect with him after more than 25 years. My search led to this finding. Condolences to the family.
Did he die of heart attack while at work ?
Thank you for your remembrance of Ken.
Thank you for your remembrance of Ken. Your recollection thought is appreciated.
Thank you for your remembrance of Ken. Your recollection thought is appreciated. We do not know each other. And I think, that you do remember Ken´s second wife.
Ken’s life was too short – but he sure seemed to make the most of it. Great memories of being a next door neighbor in Phoenix, and fellow carouser. He knew how to have fun, find new things to experience and make friends. Some of my best stories somehow involve Ken. While we didn’t connect often enough, when we did it was like time hadn’t passed a bit. Miss you buddy.
Ken, Thinking of you on this 5 year anniversary of your passing. Judy, Liz, I sending prayers and remembering you today.
I am just learning of Ken’s death at the 5th year anniversary. I was in Ken’s life in the mid 80s. We we both quite young and had so much fun. I am very saddened.. He spoke of Sheena often and with love. My heart goes out to sisters Suzanne and Pam and all close family and friends. Rest in Peace Ken.