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Naples Florida Living: My Friend Frank Oakes

Posted on Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Last night my friend Frank Oakes went home to the Lord. To many local tourists he was seen as a storekeeper at Food and Thought (US 41 and Golden Gate) but oh he was much more than that.

Walking into Food and Thought for lunch or groceries you would see Frank busily moving inventory, watering plants, sweeping up and chatting – always chatting with the customers. Frank was one of the most busiest guys in town in an already busy world working 60-70 hours a week well into his 60’s. No matter – he always had time to chat with a friend.

He once told me “I have trouble remembering names but I never forget a face.” Maybe this was part of the magic of Food and Thought. He always made you feel welcome. He invited you into his world. Once you were in you learned all about healthy lifestyles centered on organic nutrition. Frank was a walking encyclopedia. Studies, facts, figures all in his head and carefully shared with you to help you find a healthier way to live. He truly cared for his neighbor and wanted to help.

We had him over to the club one day to speak at our health and fitness luncheon. He stood up in front of the crowd and spoke without notes about the organic movement and why it really mattered. Some got it. Many were still skeptics. Change is hard for all of us. No matter to Frank. Passion is too light a word for the energy which emanated from the man. He was relentless in his pursuit of healthy living.

On a personal level we turned our entire yard into an all organic environment.  What a laugh to many of our friends! Shocking for an up-north guy who never gardened and travelled the world in his business role eating hotel food and finding no time to work out. Shunning pesticides and herbicides and animal poisons we welcomed a few more bugs and weeds and critters into our lives. Oranges, mangos, lemons, limes, guave, loquat, pineapples and yes even a few blueberries are all budding and blooming this morning due to people like Frank who touched our lives.

I would smile when my friends mistakenly equated Frank’s zeal for organic food with left-of-center politics. Words like “hippy” and “socialist” were often used. Hah, if they only knew. Hard work. No hand out. Building a business from nothing. Leading when others said no. A conservative farmer. These are traits we could all use more of.

The Naples News provided a good article on Frank this morning ( which outlines Frank’s life and I think shows his entrepreneurial spirit. Give it a read. And … if you have time as Frank did,stop by Food and Thought and read the quotes on the wall. Maybe you too will capture a sense of the man and his ideas.

Be at peace my friend and thank you for helping all of us.

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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
Mark Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses