Deceased September 1, 2021

View alumni profile (log in required)

In Memory

Born on July 29, 1927, in Charleston, West Virginia, Chandler “Chan” Alban Oakes III was the eldest son of Chandler Alban Oakes II and Miriam Logan Oakes, and proud older brother to Col. David Logan Oakes ’50. After losing his father to pneumonia at an early age, Chan moved with his mother and brother to Mexico, New York, where he grew up.

Chan began his college career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in physics. After a change of heart, Chan transferred to Amherst College, where he was a member of the college varsity crew team and eventually graduated amongst the Class of 1949 with a double major in economics and physics. He was a proud Amherst College alum, remaining engaged with his alma mater throughout his life.

After college, Chan pursued a career at General Electric (GE). He spent his entire professional career with GE, elevating through the company to serve in several management roles. While on a rotational management training program, he met the love of his life and future wife, Barbara Yost, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Chan and Barbara were married on September 18, 1954, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the years that followed, they built a beautiful partnership, family, and life together with their three children—Chandler “Chip” Alban Oakes IV, Daniel “Dan” Everett Oakes, and Rebecca “Bec” Anne Oakes—and many dogs. The Oakes family followed Chan’s career from Indiana, to Michigan, to Massachusetts, and back to New York where eventually Chan and Barbara would stay. In 1986, Chan retired from GE, and he and Barbara permanently moved to a house on Sacandaga Lake nestled into the heart of the Adirondacks, where they would live happily for 35 wonderful years.

Chan’s very first love was flight. He obtained his pilot’s license at a young age and soloed his first flight in a Piper Club on August 14, 1946. His passion for flying never waned. An avid sportsman and outdoorsman with an undying love for the wilderness and adventures, Chan loved to travel, hike, hunt, and fish with his family and close friends. His annual hunting trip to his beloved Wyoming became a fixture in the lives of his sons and many hunting companions. His final bow hunt there took place in 2015, 50 years after his initial trip. In 2017, at the age of 90, he sat his last deer stand hunting with his sons in Ohio. He believed in hard work, invention and problem-solving, and building things with his hands. He had an insatiable hunger to learn, particularly when it came to history, and spent his life endlessly feeding his mind with books and knowledge. He never met a stranger and had a sharp wit and was quick to laugh, tell a joke or regale anyone within earshot with a story, usually one that most of his family had already heard several times. He always paused to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, like a round of golf, a game of euchre, and a beautiful sunset at the end of the day. 

Most importantly, he was a man who deeply loved his family. He lived every day of his life as a proud and devoted son, big brother, husband, Dad, Granpa, and father-figure and role model to many. Passing away on September 1, 2021, at 94, Chan is survived by his wife, children, six grandchildren, and two dogs.

Patricia Oakes