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Francis C. Oatway

November 29, 1936 July 24, 2019
Francis C. Oatway
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Obituary for Francis C. Oatway

Francis C. “Bud” Oatway, of Vero Beach FL, died on July 24, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. Buddy was born as the second of five children on November 29, 1936 in St. George’s Bermuda to Josephine McLellan Oatway and Charles Young Oatway. Josephine was born and raised in Dorchester and Arlington MA. On vacation in Bermuda, Josephine met Charlie Oatway, married and moved to Bermuda.

Growing up in a family of modest means, Buddy was a brilliant student and graduated first in his class from Mount Saint Agnes Academy in Bermuda. Josephine leveraged her Boston connections and Buddy’s academic record to help him obtain an academic scholarship to Boston College to study accounting. During Buddy’s sophomore year, his older brother Ronnie suffered a motorbike accident and became a paraplegic. Buddy left Boston College and gave up his scholarship to move back to Bermuda and work as a bookkeeper for the U.S. Air Force to support the family and defray the medical bills. Two years later, he returned to Boston College to finish his degree. The delay was fortuitous as, once back in Boston, he met the love of his life, Ann Thomason, a student at Newton College of the Sacred Heart. Buddy and Ann were married in 1961 as Bud started a career in Washington D.C. as a Certified Public Accountant with Haskins & Sells. In his mid-20s, a newlywed with two babies, Bud entered an essay contest with the AICPA regarding tax accounting. He told Ann if he won the contest, he would donate half of his winnings to the Jesuits. Bud won the $2,000 prize and, true to his word and at considerable hardship, he honored his quiet promise and made the $1,000 donation to the Jesuits. While those dollars could have been well-directed to diapers and baby food, Bud was deeply grateful for the foundation he gained from his Jesuit education.

Seven years later, Bud and Ann were living in New Jersey with four young children and Bud was working for the firm in New York. Bud became a partner at Deloitte Haskins & Sells, specializing in international tax and mergers and acquisitions and Buddy and Ann moved the family to New Canaan, CT. A brilliant public speaker, sharp intellect, and outspoken leader, Bud became the managing partner of Deloitte Haskins & Sells’ Manhattan office.

After two decades in public accounting, Bud went to work for Continental Group, a Fortune 50 company based in Stamford, CT and quickly became CFO and President of its subsidiary Continental Forest Industries. Bud was part of a management team that was so effective in turning around Continental that the company became a hostile takeover target in 1985. Bud and another senior executive left Continental to form a private equity firm, Hargro Associates, in Stamford CT. For the next 30 plus years, Bud led Hargo through a series of acquisitions and mergers, ultimately running two of the operating companies with his oldest son Steve and his youngest son Chris. Of all of his diverse and successful business experiences, he cherished working with Steve and Chris more than any other.

A devout Catholic, Bud was honored to serve as a Knight in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, American Association. Bud was inducted due to his standing as an exemplary Catholic lay person who achieved distinction in his field, who faithfully provided outstanding service to church and community including protecting the faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering. Bud’s adult life was marked by a commitment to service and charity. He served as a Trustee of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT, the President’s Advisory Board of the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, the Accounting Advisory Board of the Columbia Graduate School of Business, and the Executive Committee of the Boston College Wall Street Council.

In 1982 Bud and Ann bought a farmhouse, barn, and 133 acres of land in Pomfret, VT. An island boy, he took to the role of gentleman farmer. Growing up, Buddy had worked as an apprentice and laborer for virtually every aspect of the construction trades. Over the next 35 years, he put those skills to good use and rebuilt, remodeled, and maintained the family farm in Vermont. Bud loved his tractors and equipment and spent countless hours mowing the fields, clearing woods and streams, and sitting on the farmer’s porch with Ann, his children, and grandchildren, admiring his work. The Vermont house became a magnetic gathering place for the family and “Pop” loved seeing his fifteen grandchildren develop deep friendships sitting in front of the massive fireplace on winter evenings, sleeping side-by-side on air mattresses on the floor, or floating on the pond in inner tubes.

Bud spent many happy years playing golf with Ann at Orchid Island and Quail Valley in Vero Beach FL and Woodstock Country Club, VT. While Ann’s per-round routine was a small bucket of balls, Bud warmed up by leaning against the golf cart and shooting the breeze or talking current events with the golf shop staff or starter. Bud read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, cover to cover, every day and whenever possible loved to catch up on his beloved BC Eagles and Boston Red Sox through the Boston Globe sports page.

Bud was known to his family and friends as a force of character. He was a man of strong opinions, a sneaky wit, and a firm compass always pointed to doing the right thing. Many turned to him for advice and called on him for help in life, job, family, and direction. Bud cherished these relationships and worked hard to nurture them, down to the youngest grandchild.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ann Oatway of Vero Beach, FL, his son Stephen Oatway and wife Misty of Cherry Hill, NJ, his daughter Karen Crowley and husband Ned of Oak Park, IL, son Andrew Oatway and wife Catherine of Hingham, MA, son Christopher and wife Alison of Moorestown, NJ, his fifteen grandchildren Matthew, Brian, Katy, Shea, Cary, Robyn, Grace, Clare, Harry, Colin, Charlie, Colton, Finn, Michael, and Annalise, and his twin sisters Patricia Thomson and Pamela Oatway, both of Naples, FL.

A true American success story, Bud will forever be admired and missed by his wife, children and grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Ignatian Society of Boston College c/o Campus Ministry, McElroy 233 Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

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11:00 AM 8/9/2019 11:00:00 AM
Holy Cross Catholic Church

500 Iris Lane
Vero Beach, FL 32963

Funeral Mass

Holy Cross Catholic Church
500 Iris Lane Vero Beach 32963 FL
United States

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