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Oakley, Jimcomment (0)

February 7, 2008

Centreville Baptist Church
Bibb Baptist Association

Favorite Verses: John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13
Favorite Hymn: “Victory in Jesus”
Hobbies: Golf and Alabama football
Family Status: Married to Shirley for 52 years; three children, Mike, Bill and Melanie; and eight grand-children

From delivering newspapers as a young boy to advising University of Alabama (UA) communications students, Jim Oakley, 72, has spent most of his life in journalism. For almost 30 years, Oakley helped publish the Centreville Press, which his parents owned for many years. In 1985, he sold the paper and began teaching, recruiting and placing UA students — a position he has held for 22 years. In 2006, Oakley was awarded the Alabama Press Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service in journalism. Through the years, he has also been an active Centreville Baptist Church deacon and choir member.

Q: What led you to do this kind of work?
A: I wanted to carry on the family tradition and so I did.
Q: Why did you continue this work through the years?
A: The president of the University of Alabama, Dr. (Joab) Thomas, called me and asked if I would work with the journalism department on community journalism projects for one semester. The next semester, the chairman of the department asked if I would stay on another semester, and that’s been 22 years ago.

Q: What does it demand?
A: It demands knowledge of the business and the people we serve. We serve media needs all over the world. … My motto is the difficult I do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.

Q: What do you get from it?
A: Total satisfaction seeing young people get a career started. Seeing how they progress and prosper makes it all worthwhile. I love to see them successful in their careers.

Q: Do you consider this work a ministry?
A: No doubt. You counsel with them and advise them, tell them what you think they need to do based on my experience.

Q: How do you see yourself involved in this in the future?
A: This will be my last stand. I’m old enough to retire. When I finish this tour of duty, I’ll be sitting on the creek bank fishing. I’ll probably volunteer and I may write a couple of books based on my career.

Q: What difference will it make for you in the future?
A: I’ll just be satisfied totally with what I’ve done in my life.
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