My Friend, Edward Oakley

Edward Oakley, retired Chairman of Obeetee, the largest producer of rugs and carpets in India, died July 8, 2019, age 78. He was the last of the British raj. He was sent to school in England from India and returned as a chartered accountant to learn the family business.

He had very clear ideas on almost everything and was the soul of integrity. Obeetee weavers were paid better than others, had access to health care and schools, and were treated fairly with respect. Long before child labor became a public issue, Obeetee instituted a ban on child labor that was strictly enforced.

Obeetee’s Water Treatment Plant

Edward was my friend so I have personal knowledge and admiration of his character. He put in a water treatment plant for the dye house that returns the water from the dye houses clean and drinkable. He converted the boilers to using a waste product, rice husks, to make hot water and steam. His computer room was well airconditioned, and the house was as well—cold.

Edward’s Dogs

The Guardian ran an obituary about Edward that can be found online.

Obeetee continues into its second hundred years in good hands with the new owners who embody all of Edwards better instincts.