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Agnes Oakes

May 1, 1930 - May 1, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitation

Friday, May 10, 2019
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Visitation

Saturday, May 11, 2019
10:00 AM EDT
Standale Baptist Church
3714 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Web Site

Service

Saturday, May 11, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Standale Baptist Church
3714 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Web Site

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kindred Hospice
625 Kenmoor Ave SE #115
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Web Site

The Gideons International
PO Box 140800
Nashville, TN 37214
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Agnes Oakes was a blessing in the lives of all who knew and loved her. She worked hard, but there was no shortage of special moments shared with the ones she loved most. Agnes treasured her roles as a wife and mother, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. All who knew her would agree that she had a selfless spirit of generosity that was truly unmatched. Life will never be the same without Agnes here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.

American life during the 1930s was primarily defined by the harsh days of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and things only became more dire when a drought crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, August and Margaret (TenHopen) Gustinis were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Agnes C. on May 1, 1930, in Grand Rapids. She was the ninth of 10 children, and the Gustinis was no stranger to the trials of the times as things were not easy for their family. Agnes, or Aggie as she was often known, spent the last of her teen years in an orphanage.

When she was a young girl of 18, big changes were in store for Aggie as it was then that she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Jesse Oakes, and they met when he came into the grocery store where Aggie was working behind the meat counter. She couldn’t help but notice the handsome young man as he came in to buy bologna. Taken by Aggie’s beauty, Jesse returned day after day, buying one slice of bologna at a time to get the chance to see and talk to her again. This continued for awhile, at least until he had finally mustered up enough courage to ask her out on a date. That was all it took as they began dating and fell in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together the sweethearts were married, marking the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span more than 70 years. Aggie had also been working as an aide in the local hospital, but she stopped working as an aid once she got married. Together she and Jesse welcomed five children including Rick, Ron, Janet, Betsy, and Connie into their hearts and home. Agnes was an amazing mother who particularly loved rocking her children to sleep. Throughout their life she always had a way of making each of her children feel uniquely loved.

Over the years, Aggie’s family was her primary focus. She was an amazing cook, which was something her family fully appreciated. Much of her cooking and baking was inspired by her desire to satisfy Jesse’s sweet tooth and keep her children and grandchildren happy. Since her house was near the school bus stop, her grandchildren and their friends would often stop off at Grandma’s for a treat before heading home. Aggie was so thrilled to become the neighborhood’s “Grandma.”

A woman of many gifts and talents, Aggie was always keeping busy. During their semi-retirement years she and her husband worked together installing draperies. Jesse would install them, and Aggie would fuss with them until they looked perfect as paying attention to the details was her specialty. She was always pleased when the lady of the house let her know how happy they were with how the window dressings looked. Aggie loved to knit and crochet, making every grandchild a blanket or blankets. When she was young, her mother taught her how to make doilies. Over the years Aggie made numerous intricate table runners and tablecloths among other pieces. She also enjoyed crocheting doll dresses and loved sharing many of them with others. Agnes enjoyed gardening and grew a variety of vegetables and flowers. Summers were spent canning beans and peaches for the long cold winters, and she also enjoyed teaching anyone who wanted to learn. An avid coin collector, she loved to share her interest in coins with her grandchildren. She would often have her grandchildren sit on the floor or couch and sort through piles of coins looking for specific years to fill in coin books. Agnes was a quiet woman who preferred to work behind the scenes rather than be in the spotlight or at the center of attention. She was always available to help others, and she would regularly be found in the church kitchen preparing a meal for hundreds on various special occasions.

All who knew Agnes Oakes would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was forever looking for ways to help others in ways both great and small, expecting nothing in return. Aggie was deeply devoted to her family, and she was so proud to witness her family grow to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren who filled her heart with joy. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

OAKES, Agnes C., Grand Rapids, MI. On her 89th birthday, Agnes passed to eternal life with her loving family by her side. She was born May 1, 1930 in Grand Rapids to the late August & Margaret (TenHopen) Gustinis. Agnes was also preceded in death by her son, Rick Oakes; grandson, Michael Sahlberg; and 10 brothers & sisters. She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Jesse Oakes; children, Ron (Kathie) Oakes of Grand Rapids, Janet (Bill) Sahlberg of Coopersville, Betsy (Michael) Huber of Sparta, Connie (Doug) Wiers of Allendale; daughter-in-law, Jan Oakes of Grand Rapids; 12 grandchildren, Eric (Missy) Oakes, Lana (Brian) DenHarder, Laurie (Randy) Brummel, Mindy (Eric) Kiliszewski, Dani (Jeff) Duncan, Amanda (Ben) Jansen, Jacob (Chrissy) Oakes, Ben (Jessica) Sahlberg, Matthew (Kristen Alexander) Sahlberg, Andy (Lindsey) Wiers, Traci DeVowe, Nikki (Jake) Wolffis; 23 great-grandchildren, Morgan, Addison, Cole, Lauren, Quinn, Gavin, Marisa, Mikayla, Lindsey, Cammy, Benji, Ellary, Edison, Emmalyn, Caroline, Violet, Levi, Nicholas, Evelyn, Emily, Carter, Aiden, and baby Wolffis; and many nieces and nephews. Agnes was a member of Standale Baptist Church for over 60 years. A funeral service will be held Saturday May 11 at 11 AM at Standale Baptist Church, 3714 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit family Friday May 10 from 5-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and beginning at 10 AM at the church. Private interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. A very special thank you to Kindred Hospice and Green Acres of Standale for all the loving care they have provided. Memorials may be made to Kindred Hospice or Gideons International. Please visit Agnes' personal web page to read more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.

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