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Man who kept Mount Rushmore lights on dies

Mt. Rushmore Closed Due To Government Shutdown

KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) -- A South Dakota man who drew national attention in the mid-1990s when he paid to keep the lights on at Mount Rushmore National Memorial during a federal government shutdown has died.

Arthur Oakes, of Keystone, died Monday after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

Oakes wrote a check for $240 in late 1995 to keep the stone-carved faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt illuminated for a week.

Marilyn Oakes says her husband who was politically active throughout his life wanted to show that ordinary people can make a difference. She says she did not object when he took the money out of their meager family travel budget.

A funeral is planned for Saturday.

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CAMERON May 07 2014 at 4:43 PM

RIP. Mr Oakes

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jesuaphn May 07 2014 at 7:24 PM

Does it matter what political affiliation he was? What matters is that he was a dedicated American who took pride in our country and gave a little of himself to allow the rest of us to see Mount Rushmore at night. How many of us are willing to go that extra step to think and do something for the benefit of all Americans?....oh , I get it. Some of you rather bicker about politics and play the blame game.

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derealest May 07 2014 at 7:54 PM

Why couldn't private citizens pay to keep the White House open for visitors? There were quite a few that offered.

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1 reply
chdblwinnr derealest May 07 2014 at 9:33 PM

Two words: Barack O'Bama. And the statement that the government could NOT accept those donations from private citizens to fund the White House tours came directly from his lips. Yet another in a long line of lies from him and the rest of his administration. I truly hope the voters remember these things in '14 and '16.

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tdhammond1 May 07 2014 at 8:36 PM

The story I read, made no mention of political party, I appreciate that. Just visited, Mount Rushmore, in the last month. I have seen all the pictures, like every American, there is nothing, like, seeing it in person. I am so glad, I had the oppurtunity.

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2 replies
n590star tdhammond1 May 07 2014 at 9:02 PM

It didn't need to mention his political party because it was obvious.

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deanroberts100 tdhammond1 May 08 2014 at 6:59 AM

It is obvious Mr. Oakes was a consrvative, a liberal would never make a personal sacrafice that benefits everyone but instead would demand others do it for them.

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ironmanvol May 07 2014 at 8:53 PM

I was in Keystone with my family on August 17, 1998, the night that President Clinton admitted to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. My daughter was 11 years old at the time. We watched his speech waiting in the hotel for the rain to stop so we could go to Mt. Rushmore and watch the lighting ceremony. Try explaining to your eleven year old daughter what that was all about! The lighting ceremony was one of the most moving events I have aver witnessed. My whole family was in tears, and we couldn't help but think that the raindrops running down the faces of those four great men on the mountain were teardrops resulting from what we had witnessed just an hour earlier....

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2 replies
jkstray ironmanvol May 07 2014 at 9:08 PM

Thanks for loving our fore fathers too.

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Ismael ironmanvol May 07 2014 at 11:27 PM

Wow, you should take up dramatic writing.

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oldfarrk May 07 2014 at 9:27 PM

It's too bad those would make a nice gesture into a political football . What a great guy ! RIP light bearer !

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dougdammit2 May 07 2014 at 10:01 PM

A man with some good thinking and good actions. Thank You, Arthur.

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R&D Business Int May 07 2014 at 10:33 PM

THANK You and may God Bless, REST IN PIECE Mr. Oakes.

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Jim & Kathy May 07 2014 at 10:37 PM

he's a Patriot ,without a doubt, thank you, Arthur, RIP.............!!!!!!!

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umatyly37 May 07 2014 at 10:43 PM

Indeed...THANK YOU!!!

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