Nurse Honor Guard chair Oakes dies at age 74

Published 5:30 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

One of the co-founders of a local group that focuses on honoring those who those who have dedicated their lives to nursing has passed.

Maria Oakes, of Ironton, of the Nurse Honor Guard of the River Cities, died Thursday at age 74.

Oakes, who worked at Cabell Huntington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, co-founded the group with Dorothy Spillman in 2019 and was one of its 12 original members and served as its chair.

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A 501(c)(3) organization based in Ashland, Kentucky, the group attends the funerals of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, offering a prayer and tribute to those who passed.

“We pay respect to those who demonstrated care for the vulnerable,” Oakes said of the group’s mission in a 2021 interview with The Ironton Tribune.

The group took part in the 153rd Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day parade in 2021 and now has dozens of members.

Oakes and the Nurse Honor Guard were in Ironton earlier this month, where they presented David Phillips, owner of Phillips Funeral Home, with a certificate of recognition for his work and Oakes read the proclamation.

Oakes, as a last request, asked that those who have worked in nursing consider joining the group.

Visiting hours for Oakes will be from 3-7 p.m., Sunday at Phillips Funeral Home, located at 1004 S. 7th St. in Ironton, and 11-a.m.- noon Monday at First Presbyterian Church of Ironton, 204 N. 5th Street, with the funeral service beginning at noon. Burial will follow in Woodland Cemetery.

— Full obituary here.