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Charles Allen (Chuck) Oakley of Lander

Submitted by Tracy Coston on January 20, 2012 – 8:54 amNo Comment

CHARLES ALLEN (CHUCK) OAKLEY age 67 of Lander, Wyoming passed away in his home Tuesday, January 17, 2012, surrounded by his family.  Chuck was born on August 22, 1944, to Charles and Geraldine Oakley. Geraldine passed away shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Faye Davis.  Chuck’s early childhood in Kemmerer, Wyoming, instilled in him a passion for Wyoming, the outdoors, hunting, trapping and fishing and a strong sense of family, place and heritage that he passed on to those he met and loved later in life.  In 1950, Faye and Chuck moved to Lander, Wyoming. He was a Lander Tiger! His high school athletic career focused on his passions: football, wrestling & pole vaulting. He was a competitor who understood the dedication and preparation it took to succeed and win. He was Vice President of his class. He fished, trapped and hunted on the rivers, creeks and land that he later owned. He formed many friendships that endured his entire life.  After graduating from FCVHS in 1962, he received a Wrestling Scholarship to Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. He transferred to the University of Wyoming proudly earning a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. In 1965, he met Mary Eileen Schmidt of Gordon, Nebraska, who would become his cherished wife, best friend and partner in adventure. Chuck was also part of the University of Wyoming Rodeo Team competing in Bull Riding. Chuck valued education and he spoke fondly of his professors, classes and UW.  Chuck joined the United States Marine Corps in 1966. His basic training was at Camp Pendleton in California, and he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He loved the Marines, was so very proud of his service to our Country and exemplified the values of the Marines – Semper Fi.  June 16, 1967 Chuck & Eileen were married in Gordon, Nebraska. It was the beginning of a strong, loving and cherished relationship that was the Oakley family for nearly 45 years.   Chuck and Eileen went back to the University of Wyoming and earned his Master of Science in Range Management in 1971. He then embarked on a career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He was hired as a biologist and they moved to Rawlins, Wyoming, started a family and had three daughters, Debbie, Cheri and Ember.  In 1977, Chuck became a Game Warden and moved his young family to Kemmerer, Wyoming. For 11 years, Chuck was known as a dedicated, hard-working law enforcement officer and a tireless advocate for wildlife and sportsmen. He was most at home on the Hams Fork, Commissary Ridge, Elk Draw and La Barge Meadows checking hunters and fishermen. The family created great memories at the cabin on Clear Creek. Chuck led a life outdoors and enjoyed a special appreciation for the majesty and wonder of God’s creations. He was President of Wyoming Game Warden’s Association in 1981 – 1982, a founder of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officer’s Association and participated in the Society of Range Management.  In 1988, the family moved again to Chuck’s childhood home of Lander and Chuck transferred from the Game & Fish to the State Lands and Investments Office where he embarked on a second career as a land appraiser. Chuck encouraged and supported the high school sports and horses shows of his daughters. He led the family on many expeditions for fishing/ice fishing, hunting and camping and he could tell camp fire stories for hours.  Chuck and Eileen were fortunate to find a ranch in Lander and they worked very hard to make their dreams of land and cattle ownership possible. They raised Charolais cows for decades and were members of the Charolais Association and the Fremont County Cattleman’s Association. Chuck was a diligent and knowledgeable steward of the land and the cows. Haying was a labor of love – with a few choice words thrown in! He was an active supporter of the Cowboy Joe Club and donated a steer to the “Steer a Year” program for many years.  Chuck was a lifetime member of the Episcopal Church and served his church as an acolyte and lay reader for years.  Chuck was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. He faced the disease that eventually took his life with a fierce determination and will to live. His family and friends were blessed with several extra years of love, stories and fun.  Chuck was preceded in death by Geraldine Gennett Oakley (mother); Charles Henry Oakley (father); Faye Irene Davis (maternal grandmother);  Chuck is survived by his wife Eileen; his daughters Deborah Marie Simpson (Colin); Cheri Lynn Copeland (Eric); Ember Ann Oakley; grandsons Mackenzie Simpson, Trey Copeland, Nicholas Simpson and Mason Copeland; his step mother, Chris Oakley and his sister Christi Oakley; and cousins Jere Borino and Jeannie Cattelan (Ron). Chuck loved life. He was hard-working, out-spoken, and tough as nails. He was also kind, funny, loving and intelligent. He laughed and was always quick to poke fun or grab someone in his infamous head-catch. He loved his family and shared the values he cherished with his grandsons. Chuck was a man of Faith who served and honored his Country and more than anything exemplified the values and spirit of Wyoming.

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