The Curry Coastal Pilot

Former resident Benjamin Warren Oaks, 73, of Grants Pass, passed away Sept. 19, 2011, in Grants Pass.

Ben was born June 1, 1938, to Marvin Emanuel Oaks Sr. and Mary Elizabeth (Reed) Oaks, in Akron, Ohio.

Ben was a retired member of the U.S. Army. During his 22 year career, he performed many different specialties and served at many duty stations throughout the world, including three combat tours in the Republic of Vietnam, for which he earned two Bronze Star medals and numerous other citations.

After retirement from the Army, Ben continued to develop an electronics aptitude. He designed numerous alarm and surveillance systems throughout the U.S. His designs were precursors to systems in use today. One such system was utilized by a wildlife game preserve. His work was recognized in an article published by the Smithsonian Institution.

"Gentle Ben" as he was known to many of his close friends, was a quietly charitable person. He often donated service or goods to those in greater need, always on the condition of anonymity.

During the last decade of his life, Ben was able to develop a lasting relationship with his son and grandchildren. He left this earthly existence knowing that he had family that loved him.

He is survived by his son, two grandsons, one grand-daughter and four great-grandchildren.

Ben was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and a sister.

A memorial service, with full military honors, will be at 11 a.m. Oct 9, at Eagle Point National Cemetery, Eagle Point.

As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made, in Ben's honor, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (

Submitted by the family.