Obituary of Bill Oakes

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Bill Oakes

April 16, 1944 - October 2, 2005

Hampton Union, Friday, October 14, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- Bill Oakes of Hampton, an artist, illustrator, art educator, inventor, children's book author, publisher and community activist, died Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005.

Mr. Oakes held a master's degree in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston where he taught creativity courses. Earlier in his career, he was an art instructor at the New England School of Art & Design and at the Art Institute in Boston. Since 1980, he has been listed in Who's Who in Art in America. He did numerous illustrations for The Franklin Library, Time Magazine, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Reader's Digest, American Magazine, Yankee Magazine, ABC News and CBS News.

Mr. Oakes was a courtroom artist for the historic Watergate hearings. He illustrated numerous books, magazines, and record albums. He has one of the largest portfolios of documentary art housed in The Navy Art Collection in Washington, D.C. His multi-media art exhibit, "Life Signs, Other Worlds, Other Voices" was installed at the Museum of Science in Boston during the Cyber Arts Festival.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon (Kelly) Oakes, and his children and their spouses, Wendall Oakes and Stacey, Dawn Oakes Patten and Sean Patten, and grandson Logan Szmit, all of Kingston.

WE REMEMBER: For 15 years, he was a Christian Science chaplain at two correctional facilities in Massachusetts, and he taught Sunday school for 30 years. His greatest love was helping others to stretch their imagination and see themselves and life in new ways.

SERVICES: A celebration of Mr. Oakes' life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Philips Exeter Academy's Phillips Church, 53 Front St., Exeter. If desired, donations may be made to: the "TMC Youth Fund," which promotes "church without walls" and helps young people discover creative ways to work and pray for each other and the world. Donations may be mailed to The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 175 Huntington Ave., Boston MA 02115 and marked in memory of William L. Oakes. Assistance with the arrangements was by the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory, Hampton


Honoring Bill Oakes

Special to Hampton Union

Hampton Union, Friday, March 17, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
This Bill Oakes' courtroom sketch of the Watergate hearings ran on the front page of The Washington Post on March 10, 1974. The former Hampton resident's work will be featured during the month of April at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
[Courtesy photo]

HAMPTON -- The work of a renowned Hampton artist whose work included courtroom sketches of the Watergate hearings will be displayed at the University of Massachusetts Boston in April.

Bill Oakes was a courtroom artist and did illustrations for magazines including Time, Look and Yankee and illustrated several books, including the works of Shakespeare for the Franklin Library.

He lived in New Hampshire from 1980 until his death last October, including the last seven years in Hampton.

Hampton artist Richard Laskey and members of his fine arts group are helping to organize this exhibit.

"Bill Oakes was such a talented and multifaceted artist," Laskey said. "Having a venue as large as the gallery at UMass Boston is really exciting."

The retrospective "Mindleaps: The Art, Imagination and Vision of Bill Oakes" will be displayed at the Healy Library fifth floor gallery. An opening reception is April 8 from 1-5 p.m.

The exhibit presents Oakes' diverse art, including his courtroom illustrations of the Watergate hearings for The Washington Post, his art for books and magazines and the abstract art he pursued following a painting excursion to Mexico in 1990. All of his recent paintings were done in his Hampton art studio.

Oakes also developed a multi-media art exhibit, "Life Signs: Other Worlds, Other Voices" that was displayed in his Hampton gallery and later installed at the Museum of Science in Boston. The paintings had individualized and correlated sound environments. Using infrared technology and cordless headsets viewers were transported on a trip through the universe. Hovering above fascinating aerial views of imaginary civilizations, they saw and heard hints of life on other planets.

Oakes followed this work with "Fauxtography from Space" and hundreds of digital photographs. Examples will be included in the exhibit. Oakes' art can be seen on the following Web sites: and

The exhibit can be viewed at UMass Boston's Healy Library, 100 Morrissey Blvd., from April 1-30. Library hours are: Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The library is closed on Easter Sunday, April 16, and the Watergate sketches can only be seen Monday through Friday.

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