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Arnold Ray Oates, 1937-2020


Last updated 6/25/2020 at 8:42am

Arnold Ray Oates

Arnold Ray Oates, age 83, of Bartow, FL, died Monday, June 22, 2020, at Consulate Health Care in Winter Haven, FL. He was born Jan. 16, 1937.

He was the first African American fireman in Polk County. He was Winter Haven's first Black firefighter retiring in 1992 after 30 years of fire service.

In 2019 he was honored by the Polk County Historical Association for his service, loyalty and dedication to the community. He was also recognized as one of the pioneers of Pughsville, which was one of the oldest and well-known African American communities in Winter Haven.

He is survived by five daught...

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