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June Oaks dies of cancer at age 65

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June Dixon Oaks, 65, wife of Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died in her Salt Lake home Tuesday, July 21, after battling cancer for more than a year.

The former first lady of Brigham Young University, Mrs. Oaks was known nationwide for her support of fine arts and service in the church.An identical twin, she was born March 24, 1933, in Provo, to Charles Hyrum and True Call Dixon. She was reared in nearby Spanish Fork and was a senior at Spanish Fork High School when she met Dallin Oaks, who was in his first year of college.

They were married June 24, 1952, in the Salt Lake Temple and have six children: Sharmon O. (Mrs. Jack D.) Ward, Rockford, Ill.; Cheri Lynn O. (Mrs. Louis E.) Ringger, Orem; Lloyd D. (and Natalie M.) Oaks, Tacoma, Wash.; Dallin D. (and Marleen M.) Oaks, Buena Vista, Va.; TruAnn (Mrs. Rock) Boulter, Orem; Jenny June (Mrs. Matt) Baker, New York; 23 grandchildren; and one great-grand-child. The Oaks family lived for a year in the Washington, D.C., area, where Elder Oaks began his law career as a clerk to then-Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court. They later lived for 16 years in Illinois, where Elder Oaks maintained a private law practice and served as associate dean and acting dean of the University of Chicago Law School.

Mrs. Oaks was first lady of BYU during her husband's nine-year tenure as president of the church-owned school from 1971 to 1980. At the school, she hosted numerous dignitaries, including President Gerald Ford and Supreme Court justices.

She has served as a ward Young Women president, Relief Society president and a Primary president. She has taught in all the auxiliaries of the church.

Mrs. Oaks graduated with a bachelor's degree from BYU in 1965, 14 years after she first enrolled. In a Church News interview published in March 1986, Elder Oaks paid tribute to his wife:

"My academic achievement and career successes have been based on the fact I married someone I loved, who helped me focus my energies. I had a B average when I met June; after we married, I had an A average. We were quite poor when I was in college; we had two children by the time I finished BYU, and three children by the time I graduated from law school. She never complained and she made every sacrifice possible for every professional, church and family goal we pursued."

In 1989, Mrs. Oaks was appointed by former Gov. Norm Bangerter to the Utah Arts Council, serving an eight-year term and including one year as vice chairman. She has enjoyed knitting, sewing and playing the piano, occasionally accompanying her daughter, Jenny, who plays the violin.

Mrs. Oaks was very physically active, jogging or walking 3 miles every day except Sunday for the past 20 years and playing tennis several times a week.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Monument Park North Stake Center, 1320 S. Wasatch Drive. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the stake center. Interment will be at the Provo City Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to either the missionary fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU or the American Cancer Society.