Don Oaks passed away August 12th, 2019 at his home in the Santa Ynez Valley. He was born at home in Hot Springs, Arkansas on September 6, 1940. His family moved to California after the war. Don married his high school sweetheart in 1961.
He began a career in the fire service in 1962 with the El Segundo Fire Department. Later, he relocated to Santa Barbara where he joined the Santa Barbara County Fire Department as Fire Marshal in 1975. He retired from Santa Barbara County in 2001, but continued as a fire protection consultant on a statewide and national level.
Don had a passion for his family, fire and cars. He managed to spend his entire life combining those. He spent a good deal of time at the dry lake beds of El Mirage, The Salt Flats of Bonneville, and Ontario Motor Speedway when it was still around. Don was fond of saying, "If it makes noise, goes fast, and has the potential to leak oil, I'm in."
Don's other true passion was for learning and to that end, he acquired a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration, a law degree, and a lifetime teaching credential. He was also a member of the adjunct faculty of the National Fire Academy, and has lectured there as well as at various state academies in California, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Don is survived by his wife, Suzi, his children, Steve (Michelle) Oaks, Tiffany Oaks (Chris) Bloyer, his grandchildren, Lauren Oaks (Cole) Eubanks, Mitch (Katie) Oaks, Zach Bloyer, Alex Bloyer, Sam Bloyer, his great-grandson Leo Eubanks, his sister, Jan (Don) Martin, and many other extended family members and dear friends.
A Gathering to honor Don and celebrate his life will be held at the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church in Ballard, California, on September 7th, at 2:00 p.m.