Shirley (DeMerchant) Oakes, 84, of Bristol, wife of Vernie Arden Oakes, passed away on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at St. Francis Hospital. Shirley was born on September 10, 1935 in Fort Fairfield, Maine and was the daughter of the late Donald and Helen (Kennedy) DeMerchant. Shirley was raised in Fort Fairfield, Maine. She graduated from Fort Field High School in 1953. After graduating, she got a job at New England Telephone Company being a switch board operator in Presque Isle, Maine, because of this job, she would room with other woman friends at the well known Bell House. Shirley was a great piano player and used her talent at her local church. In 1955, Shirley joined hands in marriage to Vernie Oakes in Fort Fairfield, Maine. Then she moved to Bristol and started a family. Shirley was a devoted housewife and mother to her three sons who she poured out her unconditional love to day after day. Then in 1981, she became employed by Bristol Hospital where she touched the hearts of many up to the day she retired. She was a member of Heritage United Pentecostal Church in Bristol. Shirley loved hosting Bible study every Wednesday at her home where she would sit at her kitchen table with friends and study the word of god. Shirley had an awesome knack for decorating her home with antiques and old photos of family members from days gone by. She loved her Amish dolls and memorabilia from so many shopping sprees to the Amish Country in northern Maine and one to Pennsylvania. These trips were yearly faithful vacation visits with her adored sisters, Donna and Carolyn, where laughter from these three sisters could be heard from miles around. She loved her hometown in Maine and her come in Connecticut. Her weekly highlight was getting her hair done by June, this grew into a special friendship that continued to grow throughout the years. Most importantly, what Shirley cherished was her family. She loved her husband of 65 years and her three sons with all her heart. She loved family get-togethers, which meant the world to her. Her grandchildren were her treasure and she always looked forward to babysitting and sleepovers. Shirley was an amazing mother and grandmother and never went a day without telling her children that she loved them. Shirley will be remembered as a prayer warrior with a loving compassionate heart. A mother who spent many of nights praying for her family with unselfish love. A wife who stood by her man for over 65 years of marriage. A grandmother who loved and spoiled her grandchildren. A friend who always has a shoulder to lean on. We will all miss this amazing woman deeply, but her smile and memories will be with us forever. She is truly in the presence of the Lord God all mighty now. XO. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Allison Oakes for her loving support and her neighbors, Danny and Lisa Uresti, and life-long friend, Nancy Aho, for always being there. In addition to her husband, Shirley is survived by her two sons: Stevie Oakes and his wife Darlene of Terryville, Eric Oakes of Bristol; her sister: Caroline Kelley of Maine; her six grandchildren: Stevie Oakes Jr., Brandon and Derek Oakes, Hannah Oakes, Jennifer Pullman, Nathan Oakes; her step-grandson: Matthew Esposito; her four great grandchildren: Lily, Maxis and Joseph Pullman, Oaklyn Grace Oakes; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, Shirley is predeceased by her son: Vernie “Butchy” Oakes Jr; her brother: Gary DeMerchant; her sister: Donna LaRue; brother-in-law: Harvery Kelley; and her granddaughter: Leanne Oakes. Due to current health and safety restrictions, burial at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Fairfield, Maine will be at the convenience of the family. Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol is honored to serve the Oakes family. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Heritage United Pentecostal Church, 48 Lewis Street, Bristol, CT 06010. Please visit Shirley’s memorial web-site at www.FunkFuneralHome.com.
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