Saybrook- James D. Oatman, born on June 19, 1928, passed away at home, peacefully, with loved ones by his side, on March 24, 2023. James was born at home, on Carnegie Street in Conneaut, Ohio. He was the son of the late Ralph and Esther (Davis) Oatman. His early years were spent in Girard, Pennsylvania, later moving to Erie, Pennsylvania. James left East High School after 11th grade to work and help support his family, as was common in those days. He started what would be his life’s career with the Mizer family’s grocery business, at age 17. James enlisted in the U.S. army in 1951, during the Korean War. He achieved the rank of Sergeant. Upon his return to Erie, Pennsylvania, he attended the Swift and Company Sales Training School, graduating in 1954. His sales experience led him to continue in the grocery business, managing several local grocery stores in the area, including Lake Ave. Stop-N-Shop, and the Geneva Giant Eagle.
In 1952 he married Theresa A. Dunst and they were blessed with 5 children. In 1985 James later married Donna Clawson Irons, they had 37 years of happiness, love and cherished family memories. James will be remembered for his friendliness, quick wit, sense of humor, along with his strong work ethic and award winning smile.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers; William, Edward, and Ralph, and sister, Bonnie Boyd.
James is survived by his beloved wife, Donna Jean, and, his blended family of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren: James D. Oatman, Jr., Jacqueline (Jeff) Jenks, Brian (Robin) Oatman, Bruce (Joann Bernard) Oatman, Jane Rose, Debbie (George) Balch, Kathy (Clarence) Preslar, and Mary Ann (Shane) McDaniel. He also leaves behind 23 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren, brothers Robert, Donald and Richard, nieces and nephews as well as close friends.
At the request of the decedent, there will be no visitation. A private graveside service and celebration of life, will be held. Arrangements being made by Fleming and Billman Funeral Home in Geneva Ohio. The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the Hospice Care Team who helped support and guide our family throughout this journey with utmost care and compassion. We would also like to thank our Comfort Keeper caregivers for their support and care along with close friends of the family. In lieu of flowers, our family would ask for memorial contributions to be made to Hospice of the Western Reserve, 17876 St. Claire Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Attn: Donna Kosh.
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