Cover photo for Francesca "Jerry" Biedenharn Oakley's Obituary
Francesca "Jerry" Biedenharn Oakley Profile Photo

Francesca "Jerry" Biedenharn Oakley

November 30, 1928 — June 30, 2023

Monroe

Francesca "Jerry" Biedenharn Oakley

Jerry Oakley was born November 30, 1928 in Monroe, LA and passed away peacefully at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Center in Monroe on June 30, 2023.  Jerry was a proud graduate of Neville High School at the age of 16 and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL studying Set Design and Theater.  She loved telling the story of when she talked her beloved father into cutting Spanish moss, wrapping it carefully, and sending it to Northwestern by train for her to use in a play!  After transferring to LSU, where she was a member of Chi Omega, her college experience changed suddenly when she and her sweetheart, C.D. Oakley, Jr., eloped to Mexico City, much to the surprise of their parents. 

Having been a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist in her youth, Jerry became a member of Grace Episcopal Church in 1958, where she was actively involved in the Daughters of the King Altar Guild for many years.  Jerry was also instrumental in sponsoring the Yellow House.

Jerry enjoyed many years as an active member of Bayou DeSiard Country Club, playing tennis and bridge, and she loved working on past Mardi Gras events hosted by the Club.  She spent many weekends going with her friends to see plays at the Strauss Theater followed by lunches at the Lotus Club.  Jerry was a member of the Junior League of Monroe, the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, the Monroe Garden Club, and Potpourri Book Club.

Into her early teen years, Jerry cherished her summers at her beloved Camp Waldemar in Hunt, TX.  She was proud to wear the purple of the Tejas tribe, and she excelled at horseback riding, barrel racing, and trick-roping.  She loved retelling the story of when she was in the elite War Canoe, and Tejas beat Comanche at the last second!  When not at Waldemar, she relished spending summers at Lake Bruin, which was a special place she enjoyed with her family and friends as a child and as an adult.  In Jerry’s younger life, she was an avid outdoorswoman, and she and C.D. enjoyed countless wonderful times hunting and fishing at their camps.

Jerry loved her many years spending time in Deer Valley, Utah.  Although she tried skiing a few times, her main joy was spending time with family and friends off the slopes in the winter and on the hiking trails in the summer.  She once happened to overhear a local developer talking about tearing down the Egyptian Theater on Main St. in Park City to make way for more retail space, after which she hurriedly made some calls and the historic theater was promptly saved!

Jerry is preceded in death by her husband, Clarence Day Oakley, Jr., her parents, Francesca Shotwell Biedenharn and Malcolm Stout Biedenharn, her sister, JoAnne Biedenharn Sager, her great-grandson, Carter Lee McGee, and her special friend, Roy Scalia.

Jerry is survived by her children, Day Oakley Brown and her husband, Richard of Rockwall, TX, Clarence Day Oakley, III (“Clay”) and his wife, Toni of Orange Beach, AL, Francesca Oakley Kizer and her husband, Hank of Lafayette, LA, and Malcolm Biedenharn Oakley and his wife, Kelley of Monroe, LA.

Jerry is survived by her grandchildren, Frances Eastin Brown and her partner, Pam of Rockwall, TX, Belle Deadrick Brown Primeau and her husband, Jeff of Frisco, TX, Richard Eastin Brown, Jr. of Oklahoma City, OK, Francesca Alyse Kizer Campbell, and her husband, Ryan of Lafayette, LA, Alden Lee Kizer McGee, and her husband, Caleb of Aliceville, AL, Annabelle Josephine Oakley of Monroe, LA, Christine Daniel Oakley of Monroe, LA, and Grant Owens and his wife, Morgan of Broussard, LA.

Jerry is survived by her great grandchildren, Sara Green Orr and her husband, Connor, Andrew Tyler Barrett and his friend, Katie, Oakley Mathieu Primeau, Nicholas Robert Primeau, Belle Birchett Primeau, Blanche Blouin Primeau, Frances Guilianna Bocanegra, Francesca Reese Campbell, Adley Ann McGee, and James Bankhead McGee.

Jerry is also survived by her dear friends, Chuck Summerville and Vera McNeal.  The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at St. Joseph’s Assisted Living and Continuing Care Center and Compassus hospice care.

A private service will be held by the family at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please consider Grace Episcopal Church or Ronald McDonald House.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Francesca "Jerry" Biedenharn Oakley, please visit our flower store.

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