July 30, 1947 - Sept. 6, 2012
I. James Oatman of Springville, owner of Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home in the village, died Thursday in Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. He was 65.
Born in Gowanda, he was a 1966 graduate of Gowanda High School and a 1968 graduate of Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse. Mr. Oatman was licensed as a funeral director by the state in 1970.
From 1970 to 1977, he was employed as an associate at Weismantel Funeral Home. In 1977, he purchased the business and merged it with Smith Funeral Home, forming Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home. He was president and manager of the business until 2011.
Mr. Oatman was a member of the Erie-Niagara, New York State and national funeral directors associations. He joined the Springville Lions Club in 1970 and served as its president from 1975 to 1976. In addition to being awarded Lion of the Year, he was a recipient of the club's Melvin Jones Award, the highest award that can be bestowed on a Lions Club member.
Mr. Oatman also was a member of the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce, earning its Citizen of the Year award in 2011. He received several awards as a member of the Springville Volunteer Fire Department.
He also served on the board of the Springville League for the Handicapped.
Along with his business partners, he purchased the vacant Robinson Knife Factory building in Springville and converted it into a space for several viable businesses.
He is survived by his wife of 14 years, the former Michelle D. Edwards; two sons, James P. and Michael J.; his mother, Kathryn; and a sister, Marilyn Boland.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 190 Franklin St., Springville.