Todd “T.O.” Oakes

Todd “T.O.” Oakes, of Jordan, passed away peacefully in his home on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at the age of 55.  Todd held his cross in his hands and was surrounded by his family as he went home to be with the Lord.  A gathering of family and friends is Monday, May 30, 2016 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at Hope Lutheran Church in Jordan.  A Celebration of Life Service is Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM with visitation from 9:30 – 11:00 AM at Hope Lutheran Church in Jordan.  Pastor Steve Thompson will preside, and Todd’s nephews will act as pallbearers, Brent Sherburne, Nate Sherburne, Gavin Sherburne, Jake Waugh, Daniel Oakes and Matthew Oakes.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and can be made in Todd’s honor to: LLS; 1711 Broadway Street NE; Minneapolis, MN 55413.

Harold and Virginia (Moen) Oakes celebrated the birth of their son, Todd Michael Oakes, on September 3, 1960.  Todd was the sixth of seven children, and he loved growing up in Spring Grove.  As a teenager, Todd had three main interests: academics, athletics and faith.  Todd excelled in each of these areas.  He was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church, and was very active in their youth programs.  Todd was named Salutatorian for his graduating class.  He also was a dedicated athlete.  Todd lettered in football, basketball and baseball, but baseball was always his favorite.  T.O. made the varsity team when he was only a 7th grader.  His love and dedication for the game shaped Todd’s life.

During his senior year of high school, Todd began dating a classmate, Terri Sherburne.  Todd and Terri shared many of the same values, and their love quickly blossomed.  They dated throughout college and exchanged wedding vows at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove on June 5, 1982.  Todd and Terri were blessed with a happy marriage and three wonderful sons, Tyler, TJ and Tanner.  T.O. passed on his strong values, unwavering faith, love for the outdoors and passion for baseball to each of his boys.

After graduating from high school, Todd received a baseball scholarship to attend Waldorf College in Iowa.  He later transferred to the University of Nebraska where he finished out his collegiate career as a Cornhusker.  Todd earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Education which helped him later as a coach.  After college, Todd was drafted as a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.  He played in the minor leagues for four years before pursuing his passion for coaching.  Todd spent 12 years coaching for the Giant’s organization.

During the off-season, Todd, Terri and the boys would always head back home to spend time with family in Minnesota.  So when Todd was offered the job of Assistant Coach for the University of Minnesota’s baseball team in 1998, he jumped at the opportunity.  Todd coached many talented players throughout the years, and he cherished the friendships he made.  Todd has a profound impact on his players’ lives both on and off the field.  T.O. led by example and was a wonderful mentor and coach to many.

Todd loved being back in Minnesota with his family.  They settled in Jordan, and the Oakes family quickly became part of the small town community.  Todd helped develop Legion Baseball when his boys were on the team.  He was also an active member at Hope Lutheran Church.  Todd loved spending time outdoors and being amongst nature.  He enjoyed camping trips to Lanesboro with his family.  He taught his boys how to hunt and fish, and they took many memorable hunting trips together over the years.

Todd had many hobbies, but the biggest passions in life were faith, family and friends.  When Todd was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago he needed his faith, family and friends more than ever.  Todd always said “Never Give Up.  Never Give In.” and this was his motto throughout his battle with cancer.  Even during his own struggles, Todd was always thinking of others and following his servant’s heart.  Todd was on the Board of Directors for LLS and raised funds that were used for cancer research.  Todd’s caring bridge entries were so inspirational that he decided to publish a book based on them.  Todd’s courage, patience, determination and humble outlook was an inspiration to all.

Todd will be deeply missed and remembered always by his wife, Terri; sons, Tyler, TJ and Tanner; siblings, DuWayne (Julie) Oakes, Jerald (Pat) Oakes, Darlene Oakes, Gloria (Jon) Speltz; sister-in-law, Donna Oakes; mother-in-law, Joan Sherburne; brothers-in-law, Mike (Carol) Sherburne and Kim (Doris) Sherburne; doctor and guardian angel, Erica Warlick; other loving relatives, many wonderful friends and countless players who were inspired by T.O..

There to greet Todd in Heaven are his parents, Harold and Virginia; siblings, Karen Oakes and Russell Oakes; father-in-law, Don Sherburne.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Our heartfelt condolences and sympathies on the loss of your dear husband and wonderful dad Todd. I pray God will give you grace for each new day to get through this time of grief until you get to see Todd again face to face one day in Heaven. What a glorious day that will be! Bless the Lord.

    In Christ,
    Wendy (and Eric) Wolf

  2. Terri and boys, we are heart broken by the passing of Todd. He was such a good and decent man who has impacted the lives of everyone he came in contact with in his too short life. I can only imagine the grief you must all feel. Todd is with his Lord and no longer has to suffer the indignities of this horrible disease. We all hope to one day be reunited with him in heaven. He has shown us the way . Love, the Conway’s

  3. Todd Oakes was an inspiration to so many people and touched so many lives in a wonderful, positive way. He will be missed, not only by family and friends, but by so many people that were impacted by his words of wisdom and expression of faith. Rest in peace.

  4. patty knoblauch

    I was involved with a Bible study group when Todd first became ill.
    We all put Todd’s name down as a prayer request from Eileen Canakes and started to pray for Todd.
    As for me, I continued to pray for Todd right on through the third time Todd became ill. When he was well, I stopped praying for him and then when I heard he was sick again, I prayed for him every morning.
    It was like he was a part of my family even though I had never met him. When I would get the news that he was well again, my heart jumped for joy.
    I heard wonderful things about him and what a kind and loving Christian man he was.
    God has called him home.

  5. Renee Whittington

    My cousin, Todd, was an inspiration to all. He will be greatly missed. May God bless you, Terri and your sons with strength during this difficult time.

    Love,

    Renee & Mark

  6. Todd Oakes is leaving a legacy that cannot be duplicated. He taught us how to live and be followers of Christ without preaching. He did not push his faith on anyone but after a discussion with Todd one felt invigorated and renewed. God bless you Terri and sons for you have had the benefit of living with a great Christian that affected scores of people. I have always felt close to Todd although I only was able to spend time with him infrequently. My deepest sympathy as you go through these difficult times.

  7. So sorry to hear about your loss. I was a season ticket holder for the San Jose Giants back in the early 90’s. May Todd’s family and friends be comforted knowing he is in the arms of the Lord. Rest in peace Todd.

  8. He left us, but he’s not gone. He will always be in our hearts

    Just think how happy they are to have Todd on their team in Heaven

  9. Dean and Betty Johnson

    Terri this and boys – Our hearts go out to you at this difficult time. We hope that knowing he’s with the Lord will help get you through this. Todd had such a strong faith as does your family. We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Dean and Betty

  10. There are not too many pitching coaches who have thrown perfect games. Todd Oakes did. For all of us. Mr. Oaks won the game and now he will be always be ‘safe at home’. ~ ~ ~ All of the words in the definition of ‘compassion’ speak fully of Mr. Oaks. His biggest plus was that he was full of purpose. He was brilliant in showing us all ‘what we should be’. ~~~ Well done, Mr. Oaks. Forever Rest In Peace.

  11. Dear Terri….It has been years since I have seen you and Todd, but I sure remember you well! I am certainly thinking of you and the boys, as well as all the Oakes’ and the Shed burned. He lived quite an admirable life and left others with SO MANY fond memories and inspirations! Take care of yourself and continue on as Todd would want. Thinking of you….

  12. My deepest condolences to Terri and the boys. Your husband and dad was a great man and will forever inspire many of us for years to come. My thoughts are with you during this most difficult time.
    CW

  13. Clayton Copple

    Terri and boys, where do I start? I had the good fortune of becoming a teacher and head football and baseball coach at Spring Grove in 1976. Early that first summer I meet with one of the young athletes and asked if about another young athlete by the name of Todd Oakes, his response
    Was ; You mean “Turtle”. I asked; why do you call him that? His answer, because he is slow! Well, I never timed Todd in the forty yard dash, but I can tell this , he was 4.4 from the neck up (and he wasn’t, that slow either. Todd was very SPECIAL, very athletic, super intelligent, humble and just a beautiful human being. I can stil recall his growth and development as a person and an athlete. From being quite, shy and reserved to standing up on stage at the senior homecoming skit singing “Go grease Lightning”. with all of his other teammates. On to college, married, to his beautiful wife Terriwith the Giants organization. When Todd got into coaching I knew he found his calling. When the job opened up at the U of M I also knew he had found his baseball home. Todd touched so many lives and especially mine. He will be missed but NEVER FORGOTTEN
    !!!! To Terri,Tyler, Tanner and Tj and a dog named Slider I can only hope you find comfort in knowing he suffers no more and in the eternal love of our Lord
    With sorrow and love and admiration for you and your family.
    Coach Copple

  14. Gary Ellingson

    Our hearts ache for your loss. Find peace knowing he leaves only to go to the greatest place of all. The kingdom of God. He will watch over you always, free from the pain he dealt with here. Hang on to the memories he has given us.

  15. Rick and Theresa Geving

    Terri,
    We were so sadden to hear this news. Our hearts, hugs and prayers go out to you and the boys during this most difficult time. Take one day at a time, one breath at a time and one step at a time, the love of the lord and family and friends will see you thru.

  16. As one of the many professional baseball scouts from the Midwest that was lucky enough to have known T.O., I can say that he was not only an excellent pitching coach, but also a genuine and honest person who kept all of us informed with witty emails and an always positive attitude. Todd looked out for the well being of his pitchers while also providing invaluable information the last 18 years. A great man.

    You will be missed..
    …’Dome sweet dome’….

    Steve Lemke NYY

  17. Gail Kalata (MN Legion Baseball)

    Baseball organizations across the State, and beyond — as well as every individual involved in the game in some way — mourn the loss of this inspirational man, who touched so many lives. May we never forget the messages of love, hope, and joy that he embodied on a daily basis — as well the importance of being a member of the Lord’s team. Rest in peace, Todd Oakes. Heartfelt condolences to his entire family at this time of great loss.

  18. Don and Bonnie Forga

    Terri, Tyler, TJ, Tanner and family,

    May the love of God grant you peace,
    The love of Friends bring you comfort,
    and the love of your dear one live forever in your heart.
    Memories keep the one you loved close to you in spirit and thought,
    And always in your heart
    Today and Forever.
    Thinking of you all with deepest sympathy and lots of love.
    Our thoughts are with you always.

    Your have your very own special angel to watch over you. Todd is and was a very
    special man.
    Rest in peace Todd, you will be missed .

  19. Tracie Solum Henkel

    Terri,
    You’re in my prayers as you go through these days and next steps. I pray God gives you his grace and peace. May you and your boys feel his comfort and love. I thank God for the gift of eternal life and the treasure trove of memories you’ve made with Todd.

  20. Terri and boys,
    I knew your father when I was coaching college and he was pitching at the University of Nebraska and have followed his battle the last four years. What a man of humility and courage with a heart for others. He was a great example for all that knew him. My prayers go out to you guys in this difficult time. May God be with you and give you peace and many loving memories as you go forward.

  21. Rebecca Meiners

    Our condolences to Terri, TJ, Tyler,Tanner and siblings. Todd was a wonderful Christian man. We have fond memories of him during the times we visited with the Oakes family at the farm in Eitzen and at his childhood home in Spring Grove.
    With Deepest Sympathy-
    Becky, Dana, Sara Meiners

  22. An inspiration to so many, he will be missed. But God needed him and we aren’t provided with the explanation why. Take comfort knowing he is in Heaven with a new, strong body, free of disease, and no doubt throwing a wicked slider the other angels are having a tough time hitting. And take pride in the fact that his time on earth was most definitely a life well lived. RIP T.O.

  23. Terri and boys, there are no words that can make your loss better. The only thing I can say is that you are not alone. Everyone who knew Todd loved him, respected him, treasured their friendship with him and mourns his passing. He was such a wonderful man, inspiring countless people in his lifetime. I am so proud of him and all of you during his struggle and passing. You went through this with dignity and faith.

    “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” That was said by Christopher Reeve. He was a hero and so is Todd, in every sense of the word.

    My deepest sympathy and love…

  24. My condolences to the entire family. I never actually new Todd, but I graduated from Houston the same year Todd did from Spring Grove. When I found out about Todd’s battles, I shared with my family what I remembered about Todd. Though I was not an athlete in high school, I very well remember the respect that Houston people had for Todd. I told my kids he was an excellent athlete in all he participated in but most importantly, a very good roll model. May God be with you all. Your family in our prayers.

  25. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Oakes’ family. Todd was a very good man and always had time for everybody. Hopes that this difficult time will bring peace to the family knowing he is a better place.
    GOD BLESS
    Ron and Nora Adams

  26. Kevin Buxengaard

    Words cannot express my sorrow.My sincere sympathy to the Oakes and Sherburne families. Even though I did not keep in contact with Todd over the years,I always was following him and was very proud of his life!We had a great childhood as friends and teammates! He was a winner in life and I will always h old him close to my heart and he will now be a guardian angel to everyone he has touched. God Bless Todd! Kevin B.

  27. Roger and Jan DeWitt

    Mrs. Oakes and sons, Please accept our heartfelt sympathies at the loss of your husband and father. Our son Bobby had the privilege of being a student athlete at U of M and Todd was his pitching coach. Todd was a tremendous mentor to Bobby. While Todd was fighting, he commented on the CaringBridge site for Bobby’s 2 year old son William, who was fighting brain cancer. Todd’s message was “You don’t fight alone, and never give up!” We’ll always remember his positive comments. Thank you for sharing Todd with us. God keep you all in His care during this difficult time. Roger and Jan DeWitt

  28. Barb and Kathy

    Terri,
    Even though we have not been in contact for a very long time, there are some students that are never forgotten. You and Todd were two of those students. We have lots and lots of good memories watching the two of you grow up into wonderful adults. It was a joy having both of you as students. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    Barb Allworden and Kathy Johnson

  29. Bob Bergsgaard

    Terri and family

    My deepest sympathies to you and your entire family. These last four years have been such a journey for you and Todd and I am grateful for you guys to share that journey with all of us through Caring Bridge. I am so sorry for your loss of your husband and father. I am sorry for the loss of a dear brother for Todds siblings in Spring Grove. I remember the death of Chippy back so so many years ago.

    I am grateful for our Great God’s promise of everlasting life and He welcomed Todd in with His open arms and love.

    I will continue to pray for peace, Grace
    and His ever abundent love to lift you up and surround you for the next days, months and years.

    God Bless!

    Bob Bergsgaard and family.

  30. Leighton Wiste

    My sincerest condolences to both the Oakes and Sherburne families. Although I know Todd is pain free and in a better place, it is hard to have him gone from this world. He was such an exceptional person, yet so humble. Some people wish their whole life to meet their hero. I got to spend almost everyday of the first 18 years of my life playing sports along side of my hero. No matter how tough the opponent, we knew we had Todd on our team. I recall one game when we were playing in a 13 year old and under tournament in LaCrosse. We played an all-star team from the Twin Cities. They were laughing at us before the game calling us country hicks because we did not have uniforms. Then Todd took the mound, and a few innings later they were getting worried. Seven innings later they couldn’t believe what just had happened to them. So many great memories with Todd and Terri as classmates. I hope the Lord’s peace and all the great memories of Todd comforts you all. Todd definitely lives on in your three sons. They are a great testimony to your parenting and values.

    Our deepest sympathies,
    Leighton, Christina and Gina Wiste

  31. Daryl and Cindy Melbostad

    Teri and family: Our hearts go out to you and we continue to keep you close in our prayers. Todd was a great person and an example of how we all should live our lives. He will be greatly missed, but not forgotten.

  32. Dr. Marcie Parker

    Coach Jim Peck and I returned today [5/30/2016] after a month-long tip abroad and we were deeply saddened to hear the news of Todd’s passing. You have our deepest possible condolences. Words can barely express…….he was a great man, a wonderful man, a great baseball guy and a great parent. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He will never be forgotten. Sincere condolences: Marcie Parker and Jim Peck

  33. I’m so deeply saddened by the news of Todd passing. I had just heard he was hospice, but sure never expected this so quickly. His journal entries have inspired us all emensely and will carry on forever. My heart and thoughts and prayers are with you all during this trying time. May God give you strength and peace, healing your hearts in time. May you also gain strength knowing all of us are with you. It was a blessing to have known Todd and to feel so freely his strong faith and love for our God. May he be at peace also now with his Holy Father.

    Sincerely in God’s love,
    Lois Meyer and family

  34. Jim and Lucy Schanus

    Your family is in our prayers.
    I always feel the sadness is from being left behind because there is so much you still want to do with them.
    Sorry for your loss but you will always have the great memories.

  35. Echoed thoughts and prayers go out to a great family. Todd’s passion, leadership and humor is still felt on the diamond by the great young men that you have raised. Every summer and spring I was greeted with kindness and whimsical smile when we saw each other at the yard.

    With sincere condolences,

    Bill Ryan and family

  36. Debbie (Droivold) Smith

    Terri and Family,
    So sorry to hear of Todd’s passing. You all have my deepest sympathy.
    I am Debbie (Droivold) Smith. I am Gloria’s classmate. I grew up just up the road from Todd & the Oakes Family. I always admired Todd in high school. He was the best athlete I have ever known, but he was also a super person in all areas of his life. His book is so inspirational & touching to read. May God’s comfort be with you in the days ahead. I know Todd has eternal peace now & enjoying his new heavenly home! Take care.

    With Sympathy,
    Debbie (Droivold) Smith
    Rushford, MN

  37. Pastor Roger M. Goetz

    I just learned about Todd’s death on June 21 from Harold Kenow, former principal of Walther Lutheran Junior High in Maplewood, Minnesota. I remember Todd very well from when he was a student at Walther in grades 7, 8, and 9. He was in the Walther Class of 1974 and his sister Juli was in the class of 1977. I was on the faculty of Walther part time where I taught religion, chorus, etc. part time from 1968 to 1980 because I was assistant pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Maplewood. Todd was one of my students.

    I am in the process of writing a book about when I was at Gethsemane and Walther and have completed Chapter 10 . Todd and Juli are named in Chapter 11. Now that I know about Todd’s death and his career from Harold Kenow, I will be adding Harold’s memories of Todd and his father to that chapter, plus some information from things I have learned about Todd by searching the internet.

    The items of this book are documents which can be attached to an email and sent out to those who want to read/print/forward them. They are free of charge.

    Thus, if anyone connected with Todd (his parents, immediate family, Juli, and others) would like to receive these documents feel free to let me know and I’ll be glad to do so.

    God’s richest blessings to you and yours!

    Cordially in Christ,
    Pastor Roger M. Goetz

    (and now also from other sources), I will be adding that to

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