He was an avid fan of the Beach Boys, survived the neighborhood Great Bean Shooter War from the 1960s, was immensely interested and fascinated by others and was a true public servant.
The late Congressman Michael G. Oxley’s memorial service, held Friday, Feb. 5 at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, included a trip down memory lane for several of his friends, family and colleagues.
Jim Robertson, a lifelong friend of Oxley’s, recalled how Oxley organized fellow neighborhood kids into teams, gave them nicknames, and gave everyone a sense of belonging.
“We did lots of stuff in the 60s and the great thing is there’s no record of it,” Robertson joked.
Retired Judge Allen Davis noted that Oxley “really loved people, and he loved democrats too. When Barney Frank says good things about you, you know you’re working both sides of the aisle,” he said.
Congressman Bob Latta (Fifth Ohio District), paused to collect himself when speaking of Oxley. “Mike was a public servant who truly put public service above self,” Latta explained before reading a Bible verse from Timothy, Chapter 2: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept my faith.”
“He was a son of Findlay. He loved Findlay,” said U.S. Senator Rob Portman, who considered Oxley a mentor. “He was always cheerful. Even when illness started to overtake him, he was cheerful.”
Oxley’s son, Elvis Oxley, wrapped up the service with moving personal insights about his father and a vital public message.
“It’s OK to say I love you. In fact, say it and mean it as often as possible,” said Elvis, noting that after Oxley became ill with lung cancer, he took more opportunities to do so than ever before.
Elvis also urged survivors to get screened for cancer. “Research indicates that cancer is 5-10 percent hereditary. Our diets and lifestyle have direct impact on our cancer risk and that can change annually. For the good of your family and for the good of your health, get screened,” he said, noting that a full body scan detected his father’s cancer, setting into motion a five-year odyssey that provided the elder Oxley with “a different perspective on life.”
“Let the legacy of Mike Oxley be your inspiration today,” Elvis urged.