Obituary: Bette D. Oakes
November 14, 1925 – November 15, 2020
Bette D. Oakes lived to be 95 and a day. She was residing at the Vi at Highlands Ranch in Memory Care; where despite strict restrictions and precautions, she still contracted COVID-19. Bette, the life of the party and incorrigible flirt, passed away on November 15, 2020. Bette was the wife of John M. Oakes, (deceased 2008); and mother of two beautiful daughters, Nancy Oakes Hall (deceased 2018) and Jennifer (Gigi) Oakes Pielsticker. She was grandmother to Sara D. Pielsticker and will be greatly missed by her family and many, many loving friends.
Bette, born Elisabeth Marion Daniels on November 14,1925, in Leeds, Massachusetts, was a natural beauty and natural athlete. She learned to ski at a young age at Stowe, Vermont. She also enjoyed playing tennis, golf, and figure skating. She moved to Hollywood in her twenties, where she worked for MGM studios and boasted of her time as a hand model.
Bette moved to Aspen in the mid 1950’s where she met and married her best friend, John Oakes, in 1956. Bette and John were long time Aspen residents and John was co-founder of Aspen Sports. They also had a home in Carefree, Arizona, where they played golf regularly at the Boulders Resort. Bette even received two separate Hole-in-One trophies at the Boulders.
Bette was the “hostess with the mostess” always ready with a strong drink in her hand and a dirty joke on deck. She was a gifted cook and loved to entertain. She was famous for her cocktail parties, and would often throw a party on a moment’s notice. As those who knew and loved her can attest, Bette had flirting down to a science. She loved the spotlight and had a special fondness for men, especially those who could dance and wore cowboy hats. Bette had an incredible sense of humor and could charm her way out of almost any situation. She will be remembered for loving a good joke, a good bargain, a good party and good day on the slopes.
Bette was a lifelong Catholic and took comfort in her faith. These last few months were difficult being in isolation and not being able to attend mass. She was able, however, to pray with her priest, Monsignor Ken Leoni, on the phone before her passing. She was lucid and able to say a prayer with him, and be comforted by his blessings.
Monsignor Leoni was able to say a funeral mass for Bette on November 20, 2020. The service was limited to fifteen people due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, there are plans to honor her appropriately with a large “Bette Style” celebration sometime this summer in Aspen, when it is safe to gather again. Until that time, please send cards and letters and especially funny stories to Gigi Oakes Pielsticker at P.O. Box 27096, Denver, CO 80227.