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Robert "Bob" Oakland

December 14, 1925 June 15, 2020
Robert "Bob" Oakland
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Obituary for Robert "Bob" Oakland

Robert “Bob” Oakland, of Great Falls, Montana, passed away of natural causes on Monday June 15th, 2020, at the well lived age of 94. Bob had a quick wit and a delightful sense of humor. He was a strong patriarch of his family, a good father who took pride in teaching and guiding his children, and over the last few decades, a devoted and proud grandfather affectionately known as “papa.” Bob was an excellent storyteller, captivating his audience with his stories of growing up on the plains of Canada, his time spent in the Navy. His favorite tales to tell, though, were those of his numerous, and often humorous, fishing escapades.
Bob’s father died on Pearl Harbor Day and shortly after that, he, his mother, and brother, left the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada to come to America where he graduated from Fort Benton High School and joined the United States Navy where he gained his U.S. citizenship. Bob was proud to become a citizen because the United States, in his eyes, was his only home.
In 1947 he met his lifelong love, Gladyce Campbell, and the two were married on September 25, 1949. Bob and Gladyce started their family shortly after with the birth of their first daughter, Kris, and finishing with the birth of their second daughter, Leslie, in 1957. Bob and Gladyce lived happily together, almost inseparable, for 70 years. In the early years, they enjoyed camping with their family in Glacier National Park and, in the later years, spending time at Flathead Lake in Bigfork, Montana. The two also loved to travel; Japan being one of their favorite countries to visit, and Bob would often share the story about being on the first non-stop overseas passenger flight to Japan.
In 1953 Bob started work at City Motor Company when it was located downtown. Eventually buying it in 1961, he moved its location to 10th Ave. South where he built and expanded the business. In 1967 the dealership boasted the largest Chevrolet showroom west of Chicago. Bob took great pride in his company. Being a car dealer is a way of life, and Bob loved living that life. He treated the company like a family by carefully building and cultivating relationships with employees and customers, a tradition that continues today with the next generation.
Bob enjoyed fishing and captaining his marlin boat, a 37 ½ foot Bertram, docked in Everett, Washington, and traveling up the coast of British Columbia. His favorite spot, Nootka Sound, was one he and his friend, Chuck Lovell, discovered and fished for many years. He enjoyed fishing with his family, son-in-law, John Thomas, and grandson, Cooper Thomas, and many good friends. He enjoyed taking many newcomers and rookie fisherman as well, showing them the ropes of the boat and navigating the sea.
Bob’s love of his community was evident in his involvement and contributions to numerous organizations in Great Falls and Montana, ranging from Rotary Club and Scottish Rite to the McLaughlin Research Center and C.M. Russell Museum, United Way of Cascade County and Special Olympics of Montana, Great Falls Public Schools, and many more. As a Mason for many years, the Scottish Rite Language Disorders Clinic is one organization that Bob really felt a connection to and enjoyed giving his time for. Bob lived a good life and was very passionate about sharing his good fortune by giving back to his community. There is no doubt his contributions will be felt and remembered for years to come.

Bob is preceded in death by his wife, Gladyce Oakland; daughter, Leslie Oakland; parents, Christian and Louise Oakland; and brother, Lester Oakland
He is survived by his daughter, Kris Houtonen; son-in-law, John Thomas; and grandchildren, Ashley (Richie) Whitney, Cooper Thomas, Bailey Thomas of Bozeman, and Aja Thomas of Bigfork; sister-in-law, Velma Oakland; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob left a large footprint in our lives. We were all blessed to get to know him and be a part of his life. He will be greatly missed by many.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Great Falls Scottish Rite Language Disorders Clinic (1304 13th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405,, or charity of your choice.
Services are planned for an undetermined later date and will be announced in the weeks to come.

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