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100 North Main Street
Massena, NY 13662
Phone: (315) 769-3579
Fax: (315) 769-3570
Louis Levi Oakes

Louis Levi "Tahagietagwa" Oakes

Friday, January 23rd, 1925 - Tuesday, May 28th, 2019
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AKWESASNE – Louis Levi Oakes, “Tahagietagwa”, Turtle Clan, age 94, of 380 Wade LaFrance Memorial Road, Snye peacefully passed away Tuesday evening, May 29, 2019 at the Iakhihsohtha Lodge, where he was surrounded by his family.

Levi was born January 23, 1925 in St. Regis, Quebec, the son of the late Angus and Mary (Porke) Oakes. He attended schools on the reservation and later received his high school diploma through Operation Education in cooperation with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Salmon River Central School. At age 18, he entered the US Army he was a Technician Fifth Grade with the Company B 442nd Signal Battalion. More importantly, he along with 22 Akwesasne comrades, used their language to assist the US troops as a Mohawk Language Code Talker in the South Pacific, Philippines, and New Guinea. He was honorably discharged on February 16, 1946. While in the Army, he was awarded the American Silver Star for courageous conduct and in 2016 he, along with other code talkers, received the Congressional Silver Medal. Levi was also honored for his service at the Special Chiefs Assembly at the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa and was honored by members of the parliament from the House of Commons in Ottawa. In 2017, he was nationally recognized as the last living Mohawk Code Talker.

After his discharge from the Army, he worked iron in the Buffalo area for 30 years before returning back to the reservation. When he returned home, he started working for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Department of Public Works, where he retired as their supervisor after 30 years of service. He was a lifelong communicant of St. Regis Catholic Church and life member of the Andrew W. Cook American Legion Post #1479. He enjoyed gardening, driving around the community on his machinery, weaving rugs, and cherished the time he was able to visit with his children and grandchildren.

Levi is survived by his children and their spouses, Diane and Herman Swamp, Louis Oakes, Raymond Oakes, Wally and Bonnie Oakes, Dora Oakes, Debbie Oakes and Mark O’Neil, and Joseph Oakes, all of Akwesasne; many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife Annabelle (Mitchell) Oakes on April 18, 2012; his sons, Lawrence J. Oakes in 1984, Charles T. Oakes in 1999 and Gaitlin Oakes in 2013; a son-in-law, Sam Garrow in 2011; his sister, Margaret Pyke on June 7, 1993; and his brothers, Samuel J. Oakes on August 14, 1979, Lawrence C. Oakes, Sr. on April 29, 2000, and John Oakes on June 14, 2013.

Friends may call at the Akwesasne Homemaker starting Thursday 6:00 PM until Saturday 9:30 AM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday 10:30 AM at St. Regis Catholic Church with Rev. Jerome Pastores, celebrating. Burial with full military honors will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery, Akwesasne.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, May 30th, 2019 | 6:00pm
    Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:00pm
    Akwesasne Homemakers
    1126 River Road
    Akwesasne, QC H0M 1A1
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, June 1st, 2019 |
    Saturday, June 1st, 2019
    St. Regis Catholic Church
    107 Angus Thomas Memorial Road
    Akwesasne, QC H0M 1A0
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Jerome Pastores
  • Interment

    St. Lawrence Cemetery
    Hilltop Drive
    St. Regis, QC H0M 1A0
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Maggey E

Posted at 03:01pm
Thank you for what your loved one gave for our country--he is an American Hero!! His sacrifice no doubt save many lives--for that i am gratful! I am so sorry for your loss but cherish the memories that are imprinted on your hearts. For now, Farewell my brother in arms!! Margaret (Ret USAF)


Posted at 01:17pm
Im so sorry to hear about your loss.May the words found in scriptures give you some comfort and peace in this difficult time.

"And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous"-Acts 24:15


Posted at 04:09pm
Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your dear father, grandfather and great grandfather. May your fond memories and the peace that God gives comfort and strengthen you during this difficult time. Philippians 4:6, 7, 13

Brenda Johnston

Posted at 03:26pm
Although I didn't know Levi all that well, he still held a special place in my heart. When I worked in the deli at Mini mart he would come in with his cane. I would run and get him a cart, then he'd say give me a pound of head cheese. And he always say "good one". He would walk around the store gathering his groceries. After he had his groceries all bagged, I would go get them and take them to his car. He'd come in at least once a week, sometimes two. He always had a smile for me. My condolences to the family. Brenda Herne Johnston

Monique Musgrove

Posted at 08:50am
We share your pain, but our prayers are with the family of Mr Oakes.
Bonnie and Wally, we are so sorry for your loss.
Our deepest sympathies.
John and Monique Musgrove, Moira NY.

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