Stanley Philip Oakes
December 14, 1919 – October 9, 2017
Stan passed away peacefully on October 9th, Thanksgiving Day, after a full and productive life – making significant contributions as a WWII soldier, professional engineer, and father of four, grandfather and uncle.
Stan enjoyed math and building. As a civil engineer in British Columbia from the 1950-80s, he designed many highway and railway bridges spanning the “Mighty Fraser”, Peace and Columbia rivers.
His legacy of landmark structures includes: the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory on Little Saanich Mountain; the Centennial Stadium, Royal Athletic Park Stadium, and Gorge Bridge in Victoria; the UBC Sports Centre and St George’s School in Vancouver; the Puntledge River Bridge in Courtenay, B.C.; and the often photographed MacDonald- Cartier Bridge across the Ottawa River.
Stan was born in 1919, at the Hudson Bay Company post in Onion Lake, Saskatchewan, where his father Edwin Oakes worked as an accountant. When Stan was two years old he and his brothers George and Edwin travelled with their mother Ruth Oakes (nee Seymour) to York Factory on Hudson Bay, completing the journey by “pump car” and freighter canoe.
After receiving an inheritance from England in 1926, Edwin moved to the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island where the boys attended Saanichton School and helped on the farm. Stan started university at age 16, attending Victoria College at Craigdarroch Castle, and then served as a Corporal in the 1st Canadian Survey Regiment RCA from 1940 – 45, seeing action in Italy and Holland. After the war, he returned to attend UBC in Vancouver where he earned his Civil Engineering, degree graduating in the class of ’49. As a university student, Stan rented a room in a Kitsilano boarding house, where he was greeted at the door by Mary Galpin. In 1948 they married and lived a full life together, with Stan working for many years as a principal and chief engineer with Victoria-based A.B. Sanderson and Company. Through the 1970s he worked for B.C. Rail on the Ft. Nelson and Dease Lake extensions and finished his career with Kerr Priestman Consulting Engineers.
While raising his family Stan was active in the community, serving on the Saanich school board, organizing the Cordova Bay Community Club and helping establish the Unitarian church in Victoria. After retirement, Stan built their home at Youbou on Cowichan Lake, a favourite holidaying spot for generations of family and friends.
For many of their retirement years Stan and Mary spent winters in Mexico, where Stan studied Spanish and was known for his delicious pan-fried prawns. Stan was happiest playing badminton, tennis and golf, researching stocks, fishing, tending the BBQ, and helping children with their homework. He was an avid hiker and twice a day Stan and Mary hiked around “The Point” at Youbou. A few years ago Stan calculated he had walked the distance equal to going around the world twice, and was well on his way to walking the equivalent of three times around the world. Stan loved life!
Stan will be missed by his family: wife Mary, daughters, Janet Oakes (Brian), Jean Osborne, son James, and daughter Doreen Oakes (Ted); and his grandchildren: Michael, Andrew, Erin, Mathew, Camille (Shayne), and two great grandchildren, three nieces (Judy, Jill, Jennifer) , one nephew (Ken)and their children.
Donations can be made to the UBC Civil Engineering Class of ’49 Bursary https://memorial.support.ubc.ca/stanley-oakes.
Online condolences may be made at www.hwwallacecbc.com.