Rhoda M. OakleyParkville, MDRhoda Marion (Sparler) Oakley died on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9 p.m., in her apartment at Oak Crest. Milton V. Oakley, her husband, confidant, fellow walker, and full time supporter and advocate for 66 years, passed away in July, 2008. Rhoda is survived by her children, Eric M. Oakley of Charleston, SC, and Scott V. Oakley of Los Angeles, CA, along with his wife, Weirong Jiang Oakley; her grandchildren, Christopher S. Oakley of South Portland, ME and Todd V. Oakley of Shaker Heights, OH, along with his wife, Cindy Oakley; and her great-grandchildren, Benjamin T. Oakley of Van Nuys, CA and Simon V. Oakley of Shaker Heights. Rhoda's daughter Gail M. Oakley of San Francisco, CA died on August 16, 2016. Eric's wife, Linda M. (Knaub) Oakley died on January 31, 2013. Rhoda was born on February 23, 1919, to the late John J. and Marion (Goldsmith) Sparler, and was raised in and around New York City with her older brother Daniel Sparler who also died before she did. As a young woman Rhoda attended Oneonta Normal School in NY from which she received a teacher's certificate and the
University of Iowa
where she studied in the speech department. Subsequently, while living and working in NYC she was introduced to Gaysville Camp in Vermont and went there as a camp counselor where she met Milton who was also a counselor. They were married on April 3, 1942 while Milton was serving in the U. S. Army. Following the end of World War II and Milton's return from duty in the Far East, they settled in York, where Milton joined Rhoda's father and brothers in establishing Yorktowne Paper Mills, Inc. and turning it into a nationally known and respected manufacturer of paperboard and paperboard tubes and cores. Rhoda, in the meantime, pulled the laboring oar in raising their children while becoming a highly skilled painter. She graduated from Millersville State Teachers College with a BA in 1963 and The Johns Hopkins University which awarded her a Masters degree in 1966.The media in which Rhoda painted ran the gamut from oil and acrylic in the early years to watercolor and collage in later times. Some of her artwork can be seen on her website,
. At various times during her life Rhoda would rekindle her interest in the piano, mostly classical but sometimes rag or the background music to her favorite movie. The piano became a very big part of her life near the end when, after a stroke made her left arm, hand and leg inflexible, Rhoda played only with her right hand while welcoming guests to play the left hand parts. From 1968 to 1984 Rhoda and Milton lived in Hallowell or Waldoboro, ME where Rhoda taught art history courses at The University of Maine at Augusta and continued her painting and piano playing while adding weaving to her repertoire. They moved to Baltimore in 1984 but spent many summers thereafter at their coastal cottage in Cushing, ME. Throughout their time together Rhoda and Milton traveled extensively in the Americas and Europe and took two "sabbaticals" to experience day to day life in England and Italy. Once in Baltimore Rhoda kept up with her piano playing, painting and weaving projects while adding poetry writing to the mix and serving as a very active docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art for 21 years. Near the end, Rhoda was still teaching art history classes to her fellow inhabitants of Oak Crest; writing articles for the campus monthly and poetry for herself, family and friends; seriously studying Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice;" and magically kicking the treadles that changed the parallel lamms of her loom. Throughout her 98 years Rhoda was fully devoted to everything she undertook and to all of her family and friends; she left no stone unturned and allowed no grass to grow under her feet. A memorial service in celebration of Rhoda's life will be held at the Oak Crest Chapel at a date and time not yet determined. The family suggests contributions in her memory to the Baltimore Museum of Art at 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218.