Blanche Oakes, devoted Girl Scout, dies at 91
- June 10, 2008
Blanche Oakes, a longtime Farmingdale resident and 55-year veteran of the Girl Scouts who marched in the village's Memorial Day parade each of those years until this year, died last Tuesday in Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip of complications from pneumonia. She was 91.
Starting out as a troop leader, Oakes went on to train other scout leaders, host scouts from other countries and coordinate flag ceremonies at various events, including Long Island Ducks games, always insisting that everyone who handled the American flag wear white gloves.
Oakes was preparing to march in her 56th consecutive Memorial Day parade late last month when a bout of pneumonia forced her into the hospital and a doctor informed her she would have to skip this year's parade for the first time ever.
"She was not happy," said her daughter, Ione Moran of Farmingdale.
Born in 1916 on a farm in Adrian, Mich., Oakes moved to Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens for high school. She later met her husband, Robert, and they married in 1940.
They moved in 1952 to Farmingdale, where the couple soon became active in various organizations, including the Girl Scouts. She worked at Republic Airport and later at Grumman Corp. as a supplies manager before retiring in 1987.
After her husband died in 1972 and her children grew up, Oakes remained an active volunteer with organizations like AARP, but especially Girl Scouts.
In a January 1997 Newsday article, Oakes commented, "I like what I do. I've often joked that I would die with my uniform on."
"I really thought she would," Moran said.
Oakes is survived by Moran and another daughter, Lynne Wojnarowski of Newport News, Va.; a son, Robert Oakes of Bay Shore; eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A funeral was held Thursday and Friday at Arthur F. White Funeral Home in Farmingdale, with about 60 uniformed Girl Scouts in attendance, Moran said.