Curtiss ‘Curt’ James Oakes

Curtiss James Oakes 2

NEW LISBON, Wis. (WKBT) — Curtiss “Curt” James Oakes, 64, of New Lisbon passed away on Saturday, February 20, 2021, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. Curt was born on July 28, 1956, in Cloquet, MN, to George Malcolm and Shirley (Clark) Oakes.

He graduated from Cloquet High School in 1974 and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Curt married Karen Harris McNeely on October 7, 1993, and they resided in New Lisbon.

Despite struggles and challenges, Curt faced life with a strong compassion for helping others, an ability to make people laugh and smile, and an amazing love and loyalty to family and friends. Curt felt his stepchildren, nieces and nephews, and their children were the children/grandchildren he never had. He enjoyed reading, music, sports and the outdoors. Curt was tenderhearted, intelligent, friendly and thoughtful. His sharp memory, his ability to make others feel special and his caring, loving ways will be missed by all who knew him.

Curt is survived by his wife, Karen Ann; two brothers, Steven and David (Amy) Oakes; one sister, Jolene (John Altrichter); three sisters-in-law, Patricia Gesler, Sheila Harris and Lisa (James) Burns; three brothers-in-law, John Harris, James (Kathy) Harris and Shawn (Eivo Guerrini) Harris; four stepchildren, Walter McNeely, Heidi (Brian) Coombs, Angela (Jerry) Sarazin and Tim McNeely; five nieces, Courtney (Ryan) Polster, Ashley (Tom) Sakash, Addie (Jeremy) Thimmesch, Jessica Oakes and Katie (Mike Bellefeuille) Pike; four nephews, Mason (Britta) Oakes, Andrew (Taylor Staffon) Oakes, Kurt Altrichter, Royal Oakes, and numerous great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law Kathleen (Harris) Duel.

A celebration of life to remember and honor Curt will be scheduled for a later date. The Hare Funeral Home in New Lisbon is assisting the family with arrangements. Online guestbook available at