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Tamica N. Oaks, advocated cancer awareness for minorities; Sept. 23, 1976 -- Feb. 16, 2012

Tamica N. Oaks, an advocate for cancer awareness among minority women, member of the Grassroots political organization, educational counselor and holder of two master's degrees, died Thursday in Buffalo General Medical Center of breast cancer. She was 35.

A native and lifelong resident of Buffalo, Ms. Oaks served at various times as a legislative aide in City Hall, youth opportunity counselor at Buffalo State College, counselor at Daemen College and a director of the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo. She was one of the first African-American secretaries hired by Ciminelli Construction Co.

She earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1998 at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. She received her first master of science degree from Buffalo State College in 2002 and later her second master's in student personnel administration.

Ms. Oaks was studying for her doctorate in education at Buffalo State when she became ill, needing only nine more credits for her Ph.D.

Survivors include her father, Marvin Oaks, and a brother, Michael Meadows.

A homecoming service will be celebrated at noon Wednesday in Elim Christian Fellowship Church, 70 Chalmers Ave.