Life Story / Obituary
Alex James Oakley passed away unexpectedly in his home on January 19, 2021 from natural heart-related causes. He was born in South Korea on August 14, 1984 and welcomed home by his parents on November 14, 1984, bringing them the deepest joy. He grew up in Douglas, Michigan, where he developed a love of nature and gardening, enjoyed sailing with his family, played saxophone in the Saugatuck Middle and High School bands, and took an early interest in technology. Right from the start, he was keenly intelligent, kind, original, and curious.
Alex studied geology and archeology at Grand Valley State University, including the supervision of an archeological dig in Turkey, before joining the team at SpinDance, a software consulting company in Holland, Michigan, where he worked from 2007-2016. At SpinDance, he developed the company’s initial software test capabilities and eventually grew and mentored an effective software quality assurance team. During this time, he was a hiking and backcountry camping enthusiast, became active in the local swing dance scene and also freelanced as a DJ in Grand Rapids, where his gregariousness and goodwill formed fast friendships.
His work in technology took him to Irvine, California in 2016, where he was VP of Engineering at MFour Mobile Research and led a phase of the company’s talent acquisition and expansion into a new office in Arizona. Alex delighted in the sunshine, friendship, and diversity he found in California, and was a generous host to the friends and family who visited.
He lived briefly in Dallas, Texas, working remotely as Chief Operating Officer for the Grand Rapids, Michigan startup My Cause Productions, before moving back to Michigan in 2020, accompanied by his adoring golden retriever sidekick, Amari. Ready to start a new chapter in public service, Alex immediately hit the ground volunteering with the Ottawa County Democratic Party, was elected treasurer of the organization, and was considering a possible run for public office. Alex believed individuals can make a difference in the world, he saw the need for that, and he accompanied his ideals with hard work and passion.
Alex Oakley was someone who showed up for his community, his friends, and his family. He tended his grandmother in her final days, he doted on his young nieces, and he reminded us all of what matters most. He is survived by his parents, Stevan and Virginia Oakley, sister Kara (Erik) Bodine, grandmother Janet Oakley, nieces Lyla and Kallan, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Alex was loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed – they will carry his memory with them forever.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Asian Americans Advancing Justice or to the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance:
Advancing Justice | AAJC
1620 L St, NW #1050
Washington, D.C. 20036
Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance
P.O. Box 124
Douglas, MI 49406
Professional service entrusted to the Dykstra Funeral Home - Saugatuck Chapel.