Lafayette Mourns Passing of Dr. Wilbur Oaks

June 15, 2015



EASTON, Pa.- Dr. Wilbur W. Oaks, Jr. '51 of Gladwyne, Pa, a Maroon Club Hall of Fame member and long-time college benefactor, passed away on June 13 at the age of 86.

Oaks was a highly esteemed doctor of internal medicine and former Thomas J. Vischer Chair of Medicine at Hahnemann University (now Drexel University College of Medicine), Philadelphia, Pa. He served as a professor of medicine for more than 50 years.

Celebration of Life
Relatives and friends are invited to a celebration of life on Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m. at the St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 226 Righter's Mill Road, Gladwyne, Pa. with a reception to follow at the Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, Pa. 19035.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Oaks' name be made to either the Dr. Wilbur Oaks '51 Leadership Academy Fund or the Lafayette Men's Soccer Team at Lafayette College, Development Office, Box 3000, Easton, Pa. 18042 or through development.lafayette.edu/give (click "Areas of Your Choice" and click "Dr. Wilbur Oaks '51 Leadership Development Fund" or "Men's Soccer").

Obituary & Tributes
Obituary

Tribute Wall

Growing up in Bala Cynwyd, Oaks competed on the basketball court and soccer field. After attending Lower Merion High School, he enrolled at Lafayette College, where he served as captain of the soccer team and graduated in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry. He later attributed his success as a physician to lessons in perseverance, accountability and team-based leadership that he learned on the athletic field.

Oaks earned a doctor of medicine degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1955. He went on to complete his residency and internship at Hahnemann and then joined the faculty, where he later became the Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and served on the Board of Trustees for both Hahnemann and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

At Hahnemann, Oaks became instructor in medicine in 1961, was promoted to assistant professor, then associate professor and to professor in 1969. He was instrumental in establishing the physicians assistant program and served as director of the division of internal medicine for 10 years. Project director of Saint John's Hospice homeless clinic from 1982 to 2000, Oaks founded the Soccer Team Program, Body and Soul, in 2009, for which he received the 1000 Points of Light award from President George H.W. Bush and a resolution from the City of Philadelphia.

Oaks avidly supported his alma mater throughout his life. He served in numerous volunteer capacities on campus, and many student-athletes and coaches revered him as a cheerleader, mentor and friend. Oaks served as a member of the Lafayette College Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2001, president of the Alumni Association from 1994 to 1996, president of the Maroon Club in 1992 and on many all-College committees. He received the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service in 2001 and a year later, the Joseph E. Bell '28 Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In 2011, he was given an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service by the College.

In recognition of Oaks' generous commitment to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, the men's soccer field was named in his honor in 2005 -- Bourger Field at Oaks Stadium. A member of the soccer team from 1947 to 1950, he was inducted into the Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also a member of the Fleck Consistent Giving Society.

In honor of the 60th anniversary of his graduation in 2011, the Oaks Leadership Academy was endowed in his name at Lafayette. The academy develops, challenges and supports student-athletes and coaches in their quest to become effective leaders in athletics, academics and life.

Oaks received more than 25 awards for his service to the medical profession including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindbach Foundation Award, A.J. Battafarano Award for Humanism in Medicine, Drexel University Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence. He has directed 13 medical symposiums and published more than 90 articles in various medical journals.

Oaks is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Ann, and their three daughters, Susan Oaks Little '78 (husband - Stewart), Cynthia Oaks Linville '80 (husband - Judson '79), and Sally Lou Oaks Loveman '84 (husband - Mitchell), nine grandchildren, Kristen Tapson Widenhoefer, Lauren Tapson, Kelly Tapson '13, Madison Linville, Cameron Linville '13, Lucy Linville '18, Marin Loveman, Carly Loveman '17, and Billy Loveman, and two great-grandchildren, August and Margot Widenhoefer.

Relatives and friends are invited to a celebration of life on Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m. at the St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 226 Righter's Mill Road, Gladwyne, Pa. with a reception to follow at the Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, Pa. 19035.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Oaks' name be made to either the Dr. Wilbur Oaks '51 Leadership Academy Fund or the Lafayette Men's Soccer Team at Lafayette College, Development Office, Box 3000, Easton, Pa. 18042 or through development.lafayette.edu/give (click "Areas of Your Choice" and click "Dr. Wilbur Oaks '51 Leadership Development Fund" or "Men's Soccer").