Funeral ServicesPrivate Family Services
Loretta Hart Oakley-Maki, 94, glorious gardener, innovative cook, writer, rug maker, dressmaker and builder, went to rest on May 9, 2016.
Loretta was born in Dallas TX on March 21, 1922, the eldest of five children of Roger Hart and Verba Martin Hart. Her school years in Edgewood TX were during the fiercest times of the Great Depression and she was greatly affected by the poverty she saw. She saved and repurposed things throughout her life, believing that careful living and a powerful faith in God were the most important safeguards against want and need.
She and her high school sweetheart, Luther Ray Oakley, were married the night of her high school graduation in 1939. World War II began soon after, and they left Texas to seek work in the shipyards near Vancouver WA. Loretta welded in ship engine rooms, truly “Rosie the Riveter”. Her parents and siblings followed for work in the shipyards. Wages were much better than in the Depression depleted South. Ray was drafted into the Navy Air Force, where he was stationed at Tongue Point in Astoria OR and where daughter, Lynette, was born. When the war ended, they went back to Texas, but returned to Astoria in 1948.
In 1950, they purchased their home on Tucker Creek Lane. A second daughter, Ruth Anne, was born in 1954. Loretta stayed home with her daughters most of their growing up years. A creative seamstress, she sewed most of their clothes and led 4-H sewing clubs. She gardened, preserved food, and taught herself accounting for the alder sawmill that she and husband Ray operated from 1960-67. Her marriage to Ray ended in 1969.
Loretta loved the mild climate of Astoria and lived for over 50 years in her little home, 9 miles from Astoria and about 10 miles from the ocean. She pursued gardening as a science, studying companion planting and landscaping. She grew acres of flowers, shrubs, and fruit bearing plants and trees on the hill where her home stood. She knew the botanical names of her plants, along with the soil additives they required. She shared armloads of flowers and plant cuttings with those who visited. She was also known for her wonderful cooking. Later in life, she began to design and make rugs. She loved time with her friends in the Youngs River Rug Club.
She was amazingly knowledgeable about the Bible. Church attendance included Lewis and Clark Bible Church, First Baptist Church, and then Church of Christ. She served in roles including Sunday school teacher, youth group leader and choir member.
A voracious reader, Loretta was a perpetual student. She graduated from Clatsop Community College at age 50. She had always been a writer, sharing her life with friends in long, interesting letters, and she kept journals for many years. The Astoria Library was a favorite place where she researched many subjects. When her house needed foundation work, she studied building. With the help of friends and neighbors, she was able to build forms, craft footings and pour cement. She was, indeed, a Renaissance woman.
She married William (Bill) Maki in 1985. They lived together in the house on Tucker Creek for almost 10 years, until his death.
At various times during her years in Astoria, Loretta was employed at the Uptegrove Lumber Mill, Astoria Library, Warrenton Head Start and the Bumble Bee Elmore Cannery.
In 2007, she moved to Wisconsin, where she lived at the Deerfield, a retirement community in New Richmond, WI, about two miles from daughter Lynette’s home. She lived there for 9 years, still singing the old songs she knew and loved until a short time before her death.
She was preceded in death by parents, both husbands, sisters: Rose Marie Middleton (M.R.) and JoAnn Lovatt (Ed), and brother, Jerry Ben Hart. She leaves behind a brother, Roger Hart, Emory TX, two daughters: Lynette Oakley, New Richmond WI and Ruth Howard, Chico CA, six grandchildren: Chris Heinen (Roger), Jenny Lombard (Mitchel), Amanda Gustafson (Derick), Loretta Christiansen, Karl Christiansen (Dana) and Diane Strandberg (Don Crabtree). She also has eight great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
The family would like to extend a special appreciation to the Deerfield Arbor Staff for their loving care and compassion during Loretta’s time there.
A private Celebration of Life was held on May 13. Memorials honoring Loretta may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Deerfield Arbor through the Presbyterian Homes Foundation, 2845 Hamline Ave. N, Roseville MN 55113, or to the charity of one’s choice.