William (Bill) Edward Oaks

Date of Death: February 20, 2020

Rev. Dr. William Oaks, 85, of Scottsville, Kentucky, died Feb. 20, 2020, at Hospice House in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 

Bill was called “Preacher” throughout most of his life. He ministered to God’s people in ways that comforted, affirmed, and loved them with a good sense of humor.

Bill was born June 17, 1934, in Mount Union, Scottsville, Kentucky to H.A. and Mable Oaks, the youngest of three boys. As a 16-year-old, Olgin Napier at Mt. Union United Methodist Church asked Bill to preach the following Sunday night. He hesitantly accepted but said, “I’ll do my best.” As the time drew nearer, he became extremely nervous. Forgetting much he had prepared concerning John, he stopped and asked everyone to pray for him. Olgin replied, “Bill is always willing to do what is asked of him and give his best efforts.” 

Bill had heard the Lord’s calling but wanted to become an agriculture teacher. After a year at Western Kentucky, the Lord’s calling was much stronger. He enrolled at Kentucky Wesleyan. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Theology, he graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory with a master’s degree. Bill never owned a car while in college; he walked and hitchhiked. 
He received an honorary doctoral degree from Union College in 1986. He was an active member of the Kentucky (Louisville) Conference for 43 years and 20 years in retirement. He served appointments at Hopkinsville Circuit (1960-1963), Camp Loucon volunteer director and counselor for four years, Trenton (1963-1967), Mt. Washington-Bethel (1967-1972), Greenville (1972-1976), Audubon Park (1976-1979), Bowling Green District Superintendent (1979-1985), Russellville Temple (1985-1993), and Scottsville First (1993-2000).

As Rev. Chuck Pruitt said in his eulogyl, Bill was very sincere about his calling. As he mentored Chuck, he asked to hear Chuck’s life story. Thinking he was finished, Bill asked about the most important item – Chuck’s calling.

Bill said with great pride that his greatest privilege in life was to be called by God to be a United Methodist minister. He was always extremely honored and moved to be asked by those he mentored to participate in the laying on of hands. He was especially proud of his nephew David Oaks, who heard the calling to be a minister. David shared wonderful humorous memories of Uncle Bill at the funeral. 

Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Jackie Barger Oaks (1972) and his only child, William Brent Oaks (2016). Despite hardships and suffering, Bill embraced God as his ever-present help and gave him the glory. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Martha Oaks, of Smiths Grove, Kentucky.

Bill was laid to rest back home where his calling began in Mt. Union Cemetery, where 27 members from his Christian Men’s Breakfast Club served as honorary pallbearers.

Without a doubt Bill was a committed, dedicated, and faithful servant of the Lord who responded to the Lord’s calling and served the Kentucky (Louisville) Annual Conference with honor and pride.