It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Les Oakes, former CISC Manager of Education.


Les was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to William and Edith Oakes. He was the youngest of four active boys. After obtaining a civil engineering degree from the University of Natal in Durban in 1949, Les spent two years in New York with Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff Consulting Engineers. He moved to Canada in 1952 to join the Engineering Department of the Dominion Bridge Company in Montreal, marrying Lillian (Lill) Sproule in 1956 and becoming the proud father of three daughters, Janet, Allison, and Linda.

In 1964, Les and his family relocated to Winnipeg when he became Chief Engineer of the Winnipeg Branch of Dominion Bridge. In 1977, Les took on a new challenge when he became Central Regional Manager for the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) in Winnipeg. In 1984, Les transferred to Toronto’s CISC office as the CISC Manager of Education. He retired in 1995, moving to Victoria, BC, with Lill in 2004.


Les’ hobbies, talents and interests have been many throughout the years, and include organist, choirmaster, gardener, home renovator, and family researcher extraordinaire! He will be fondly remembered always for his entertaining stories, gentlemanly manner, colourful hand-knit sweaters, and making the best bread pudding and Christmas trifle in town!


Married happily to Lill for 59 years, Les was always a devoted family man first. Living in a household of females, he frequently joked “us guys have to stick together” when various male pets joined the family. Memories of summer vacations at Lake of the Woods in Ontario and good-fun Chinese Checkers games will always be special.

Les will be missed by all who knew him. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation or Victoria Hospice in Les’ memory.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held at a future date.


Donate to BC Cancer Foundation


Donate to Victoria Hospice