Tonya Oaks Smith Obituary, Executive Director at Louisiana Tech University Dies – Death Cause
Tonya Oaks Smith Obituary, Death – Tonya’s maternal and paternal grandparents, C.W. and Mary Aswell and Emerson and Dorothy Oaks, passed away before she was born. She is survived by her loving husband of 28 years, Louis Keith Smith, their daughter Rebekah Marshall (Marley), her father and mother, Butch and Rebekah Oaks, her brother Emerson Oaks V, Kristen Oaks White (Landon), her nephew Theodore White, and her brothers-in-law, Marshall Gregory Smith and James Andrew Smith. In addition, she is survived by her in-laws, Marshall Gregory Smith and James Andrew Smith.
On Monday, April 10th, there will be a Celebration of Life Service held in honor of Dr. Tonya Oaks Smith, who served as Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at Louisiana Tech University. The event will take place in University Hall, which is located on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. The visitation will start at ten in the morning, and then there will be a service at eleven in the morning. Tonya passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, when she was fifty years old.
Her parents, Butch Oaks of Calhoun and Becky Oaks, gave birth to her on June 23, 1972, in West Monroe, Louisiana. Tonya completed her secondary education at Louisiana State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She was a member of the first graduating class at West Ouachita High School and graduated in the year 1990. Tonya and Keith Smith tied the knot in 1995 after meeting one other in Baton Rouge. 1997 marked the year that they welcomed their daughter, Rebekah Marshall.
Tonya worked and contributed to the Ruston Daily Leader for the short time that she was based in Ruston. Tonya completed her study at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and earned a master’s degree in communication after the family moved to Little Rock, which is located in the state of Arkansas. Tonya was a member of the communications staff at both ULAR and Henderson State in Arkadelphia.
In 2017, the family made the move to Ruston, Louisiana, where Tonya took over leadership of the department of communication. At Louisiana Tech University, she completed the requirements for her Doctor of Education degree in 2023. Tonya devoted her working life to improving the quality of higher education, which she believed would improve not only the lives of students but also those of faculty members. Tonya lived each day of her professional life by the credo that “Education is not the filling of the pot but the lighting of a fire,” which was a quote attributed to W.B. Yates.
Her enthusiasm for education was the spark that lit a fire that motivated her coworkers all around the country thanks to the work she did with organizations such as the HEWeb program. She was known fondly by most people online as “Marley’s Mom,” and she possessed a wickedly high IQ, an incredible amount of charisma, and a strong desire to inspire teachers to use their abilities to make the world a better place.