CHESTER, Vt. – Oakley “Oakie” F. Patenaude, 89, passed away at his home Aug. 2, 2020. He was born in Castleton, Vt., July 27, 1931, the son of Frank O. and Dorothy (LaMore) Patenaude. He attended a one-room schoolhouse through eighth grade and graduated from Fair Haven High School in 1949. He joined his father in farming for a few years after high school and eventually moved to Chester, where he worked for 34 years at Fellows Gear Shaper as a machinist before retiring in 1993. He was noted for his strong work ethic, precision manufacturing, and took great pride in his work.
He volunteered with the Chester Boy Scouts and at Chester Recycling. Square dancing with the Precision Valley Squares was a favorite for many years, followed by another learning endeavor in amateur radio, achieving Advanced Class licensure with KA1FGQ as his call sign. He loved having friends in for coffee and conversation during their radio studies. He enjoyed being outdoors cutting, splitting, and stacking wood, driving his Jeep up through the woods and terrifying anyone who dared go with him.
Camping all over Vermont, Cape Cod, and Kennebunkport, Maine, and traveling around the U.S. visiting national parks and beaches along the East Coast, and meeting new friends along the way gave him joy. Spending time with his family was the highlight of his life, especially with his granddaughters, who were his pride and joy. His sense of humor laced with little ditties, some oldies, and some he made up, kept us all laughing, even in stressful times. He restored an early 1940s John Deere Model H tractor, which came to him from his childhood farm in pieces, and he loved it.
Oakie was predeceased by his parents, and his sisters Elsie Pelletier and Shirley Patenaude. He is survived by his wife Lynda (Tefft); son Dan and his wife Dianne, and their daughter Nicole; his daughter Sue and her husband Gary, and their daughter Courtney and son Shawn and his family.
A private burial will be held at the convenience of the family, and a celebration of his life will be held in the summer of 2021, as per his wishes. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Springfield Humane Society, 401 Skitchewaug Trail, Springfield, VT 05156; Springfield Hospital, 25 Ridgewood Rd., P.O. Box 2003, Springfield, VT 05156-2003; or to a charity of one’s choice.