Kathaleen (Switzer) Oakes, 78 of Bemidji, MN passed away Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at her home. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at the Pembina Evangelical Free Church, Pembina, ND. Visitation at the church for one hour before the time of service.
Kathaleen Ella was born to Ray and Lola Switzer on April 19, 1944, in Grafton, North Dakota. Her elementary years were at a one room school where she was the only student in her grade. She graduated high school from Walsh County Agricultural School in Park River. In 1964, Kathy married Richard Oakes in Hamilton, ND. They lived and farmed south of Pembina where they raised their children, Bill, Julie, Bryce, and Steve. Having earned her bachelor's degree in science from NDSU, Kathy enjoyed teaching her many students in Home Economics in Kennedy, MN, and Neche, ND.
Bible Camp meant so much to Kathy. It was there that at age 10, she was guided in a prayer for salvation. That was the beginning of her walk with Jesus. At age 28, while attending Teien Covenant Church and retreats at Bluewater Bible Camp she realized she needed more than “fire insurance”, she wanted to make Jesus the Lord of her life. Friendship Bible Coffees and KFNW helped open her heart to studying the Bible and applying it to her life. Richard and Kathy were involved with the Pembina Evangelical Free Church since 1975. Kathy especially loved helping with music, women’s ministry, and children’s ministry, including directing the teens in puppets for thirteen years. Kathy was well known for her hospitality, playing ragtime piano, playing pinochle, sharing her cooking, and giving homemade baby bath towels and baby blankets.
Rich and Kathy began wintering in Mesa, AZ, at Trail Riders Ranch upon retirement in 2007, where they enjoyed the friendship of so many wonderful people. In 2013 they moved from the farm to Bemidji. They have enjoyed Bemidji, though it was hard to leave the Pembina Community that they loved so much.
Kathy was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Lola Switzer, brother, David, and infant sons Jeffrey Scott and Brent Richard. She is survived by her husband, Richard, Bemidji; three sons and one daughter, William (Laurie) Oakes, Bemidji, Bryce Oakes, Fosston, Steven (Kara) Oakes, Moorhead, Julie (Mike) Dietrich, Moorhead; Thirteen grandchildren, Landon (Chloe) Oakes, Brian, (Steffi) Oakes, and Leanne (Dan) Frost, Evan Dietrich, Daniel Dietrich, Ethan Oakes, Genevieve Oakes, Alex Neumann, Isabelle Oakes, Braedon Oakes, Ellianna Oakes, Alexandra Oakes, Charlotte Oakes; one great Grandson Archer Frost; five nephews and four nieces, Chad (Sue) Peterson, Christian (Janel) Hart, John (Laure) Hart, Rob (Allison) Hart, Kyle (Lyndsey) Switzer, Tami (John) DeVore, Lorelei (Mike) Anderson, Nicole (Pat) Hanley, Jennifer Knudson; sister, Mary Kopf, brother, Ken Switzer, sisters-in-law, Diane (Dave) Peterson, Susan (Don) Hart.
Kathy has requested that any memorial funds be given to Wycliffe Bible translators, Dan & Diane Hintz, #221247, PO Box 628200 Orlando, FL 32862-8200 or followtheproof.com C/O Julie Dietrich, 4502 3rd St S Moorhead, MN 56560. Followtheproof.com is a website started by Rich and Kathy’s grandson to help people find the way to Jesus. It’s a marvelous site she hoped you would visit.