Tom Oakley was born on June 24th, 1932 in Quincy, Illinois. After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1954, he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving for three years before he was honorably discharged. In that time, Tom married Anne McDonald, and their second son Ralph was born in 1956. A year later, the family returned to Quincy, where Tom rejoined the family business, Quincy Newspapers, Inc., later renamed Quincy Media, Inc.
Tom became President of the company in 1969, and under his leadership, Quincy Media, Inc. began its major expansion into television. His son Ralph joined the company in 1977, eventually becoming a member of the Board of Directors in 1993. Then in 2009, as Quincy Media operated television stations in 10 markets, in addition to two radio stations and two newspapers, Ralph took over as President and CEO – becoming a 5th generation family member to have done so. But Tom remained active in the company, serving on its Board of Directors until Quincy Media was sold in 2021.
Both Tom and Ralph served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Television Bureau of Advertising. Ralph was also on the ABC Affiliate Board of Governors, and is a former chairman of the NBC Affiliates Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Association, the latter of which honored him as a Broadcaster of the Year.
In 2020, Tom was inducted into the prestigious Gold Circle by the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – one of the industry’s highest honors. An active supporter of economic development, Tom played a leading role in bringing three national highways through the Quincy, Illinois region. In 2009, his efforts were recognized with a portion of highway being renamed the Thomas A. Oakley Highway. He also made a $1 million donation to Culver-Stockton College to establish their Tri-State Development Summit. Tom passed away last year at the age of 89.
Ralph is active in community affairs, serving on the Quincy University Board of Trustees, at one point as the chairman. He was the founding chairman of the Community Foundation serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, and he also headed the United Way of Adams County, along with supporting several other social service and non-profit organizations. He has two adult children, and four grandchildren.
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