James Ruffin Oakley

May 29, 1921October 9, 2020

James “Jim” Ruffin Oakley, 99, of Gallatin, TN, formerly of Evansville, passed away on Friday, October 9, 2020, at NHC Place Sumner in Gallatin, TN.

Jim retired as President and CEO of Colonial Baking Company for Owensboro, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana. He received an Honorable discharge from the Merchant Marines/United States Coast Guard. Jim was an active member of the Masons and Shriners for over 50 years reaching 32nd degree ranking. He was a longtime golfer and former member of the Evansville Country Club. Jim was also a member of the Oak Hill Golf Club and Kennel Club in Evansville until his retirement to Bradenton, Florida. Jim and Helen were faithful members at Washington Avenue Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana and later First Baptist Church of Sarasota, Florida. He thoroughly enjoyed laughing with friends and spending time with family. In his last years he and his wife, Helen moved to Gallatin, TN to be close to his son, daughter-in-law, children, and grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Helen Florence Oakley.

Jim is survived by his son, Vaughn Oakley (Barbara) of Gallatin, TN; three grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren.

Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2020, at Alexander Memorial Park Mausoleum, Heritage Chapel, where the Reed Masonic Lodge will open with a Masonic service. Friends may visit from 11:30 a.m. until service time at the Chapel. The funeral service will be livestreamed on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. on

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in honor of James Oakley to Shriners Hospitals for Children at Condolences may be offered at


  • Visitation

    Saturday, October 17, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, October 17, 2020


James Ruffin Oakley

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jean Spalding

October 16, 2020

I extend my condolences to Von and Barbara. Jim was without a doubt the most loved person who I met through Spalding's Food Centers and grew to love. We traveled together several times. one time we were on a plane coming back from Mexico and I was sitting next to Jim when the plane dropped Jim was holding his favorite drink and even though he held on to my hand for dear life. His comment at the end when the plane leveled out was " I didn't spill a drop". Never was in his company that the time was not filled with laughter.

Will miss him each time I come across one of the many pictures of Helen and him.

Barbara Palumbo

October 14, 2020

Wow did he have a long run, and we had the privilege of being his next-door neighbor for many many years. He taught us the ropes when we moved in back in early 2003, was always an advocate and protector in Sweetbriar. I remember that Helen loved her martinis, we shared that often at day's end, and Jim made them the best. Jim and Helen had enormous courage tinged with sadness in their decision to move to Tennessee at their ages and with health concerns, and Thank God for the loving family who looked after them in their later years. Perfect story, perfect love they had, and I have the fondest memories! So sorry for your family's loss, but Helen is happy to be reunited with him where they'll be together for eternity! John and I learned a lot from each of them and loved them dearly. Barbara


Learn more about the Oakley name