Obituary: James G. Oates |

Obituary: James G. Oates

James G. Oates
James G. Oates
Provided Photo

April 2, 1943 – December 31, 2021


James “Jim” G. Oates was the youngest of three sons born to the late Helen and Gordon Oates in Kenton, Ohio, on April 2, 1943. He graduated from The Ohio State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree and played football for Woody Hayes.

Upon graduation in 1966, Jim joined the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career as a Media Assistant and quickly advanced within the company to become President of the Leo Group, which is the fourth largest advertising agency in the world, with offices in more than 85 countries. During his 35 years at Burnett, his leadership, vision, and belief that “you win with people”, helped fuel the company’s growth and success.

Jim was a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, where he also served as Chairman. He was a member of the Advisory Board for the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Jim retired from Leo Burnett in 2001. He and his wife, Sue, moved to a ranch in Gunnison, Colorado. They enjoyed a life surrounded by mountains, rivers, horses, their beloved dogs, Lucy and Bubba, and wonderful friends. He was a board member of the Crested Butte Music Festival and the Colorado State University Extension Advisory Board in Gunnison County. He co-founded and was a manager of the Gunnison River Partnership, a venture capital resource for the greater Gunnison valley. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University for eight years, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. His advice and counsel were often sought by many, and it was freely given.

Jim passed away with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Sue Ann Minter Oates, his two sons, Christopher James “C.J.” (Heather Heiberger) Oates, their three daughters, Arison, Brenton, and Harlow, and Matthew (Carrie Baldwin) Oates, and their daughter Landry, his brother Larry (Michele) Oates, and sister-in-law Gloria Oates.

No memorial services are planned at this time. Please remember Jim by supporting your local charities.

For more information, contact Reuland & Turnbough Funeral Directors at

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