Words by Robert Debbs About His Son, Oakley.
Thank you all for being here. It is a true testament to Oakley, his friends and this community. I know what Oakley would be thinking if he had such a big crowd; he would ask all of you to like his newest sport tricks video on You Tube. He always wanted to get 5,000 likes!
Oakley wanted to succeed in everything he participated in. He was fiercely competitive. When we woke up in the morning he wanted to be the first one at school. He wanted me to beat all the other parents while driving on Flagler, asking me to get in front of one of his classmates and getting mad at me if I didn’t. He wanted to get straight A’s, he wanted to finish his test first, and he wanted to get the best time on his rediker tests. He had already connected the dots, understanding if you got good grades, you went to a good school, which allowed you to get a good job. He wanted a big house. He always asked me whether this particular job (mine) was a good job or not. He was driven.
He was a great athlete. He loved all sports, both playing them and following them. He loved the NY Giants and Eli Manning. He had the same frustration with them as I did and my father did. He was mad at me for making him like this unreliable team. He followed every stat and discussed them with adults. He knew more than I did. He was an excellent soccer player and- loved the sport, he made quarterback this year on his flag football team. He ran track, won his mini marathon and had the longest long jump for his age, close to 13 feet. He skied, surfed, and played. He was always playing a game with his sister or his friends. Challenging them in every activity. This made Oakley happy.
Oakley was the best child a parent could ask for. We rarely had to discipline him. He was honest as the day is long. He would immediately apologize if he felt did something wrong. Although he teased his sister constantly, as all siblings do, we would rarely intervene. Most of the time it was he was questioning myself or Merrill. Were we eating the right foods, did we have a second glass of wine? Was St. Michael’s College a competitive college? Was my job a good one? When are we building the house? Was the Hyundai as fast a Bugatti? I was like what is a Bugatti?
The most endearing part to Oakley was his sincere loyalty to his family and friends. He held his friends in the closest regards. They were the most important to him and wanted to be with them always. He was sincere, kind, sympathetic, and challenged them to everything he could. He loved to joke and make jokes, he had an excellent sense of humor.
He was loyal to his church. He called himself an Episca Pelican! He loved his School Rosarian Academy. He was telling me how Rosarian might be able to beat the Day School this year that their soccer team was really good. He loved Florida. Swimming, boogie boarding and playing soccer at the Bath and Tennis Beach. He loved the Bath and Tennis and thought we were not being loyal by getting a summer membership to the Sailfish Club. He was a funny kid!
Most of all he loved his family. He would do anything for his mother, sister, myself, grandparents or cousins. I would hear him tell stories to his friends on how his mom went University of Miami and was a great tennis player or that Olivia made the best movies, or how he couldn’t wait to his cousins in New Jersey or how Chatty and Gamma were the best grandmas, or how his family took him on the best trip!
He was a consummate gentleman scholar and athlete. He was the man I always wanted to be. He was all of our best friends and we don’t know what to do without him.
I hope he is looking down on us saying not to worry, he’s got this, and he will help others.