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Flint, MI–Oaklin Mixon, a father of five, a business owner, a mentor to many and a friend to even more, died on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.
Considered a pillar of the Flint community by many, social media posts lamenting his death flooded sites like Facebook just minutes after his death was announced. Dozens of posts from friends, business partners, family and even one-time acquaintances outlined Mixon’s best qualities as a caring, compassionate and community-oriented family man.
“Oaklin is one of the reasons I moved to Flint,” one post read.
“Without Oaklin Mixon … I wouldn’t be the man I am today,” said another post.
Many people thanked Mixon for the impact he had on them and the community. “Oaklin saw the man I could be and just let me fly.” “You were bright light, it’s simply not fair. Much much love to you Oaklin Mixon, this community will miss you.”
Mixon was born in Niagara Falls, New York in 1983. During his childhood, he moved to Detroit before entering the foster care system and moving to Flint. It was during his time attending Flint Northern High School that Mixon met Lev Hunter, a fellow student who would soon go on to become one of Mixon’s closest friends.
“Oak was like a brother to me, honestly. We had a strong brotherhood. We prayed for each other, encouraged one another, we were each other’s listening ear. We bumped heads and through all that still remained friends,” Hunter said.
Through his early adulthood, Mixon worked several jobs in Flint. From making crepes to banking and on to founding his own clothing company seated in the very heart of downtown Flint, those who loved Mixon said he never stopped wanting better for himself, his city and most importantly his family.
He leaves behind five children, Keturah, Manoah, Solomon, Selah and Shiloh.
Looking back, Hunter said Mixon was driven by the need to be better and to outgrow the circumstances he grew up in.
“I think for him, Oaklin’s motivation was being something for himself that he never had. For his children, he wanted to be the dad that he never had. When he was married, he wanted to be the husband for his wife that he never saw growing up. Everything for him was about legacy and community. All Oaklin cared about was his kids and his community,” Hunter said.
As much as he will be remembered for being the kind of person to inspire and motivate others, Mixon will also be remembered for founding Good Boy Clothing, a fashion brand that aided in the revitalization of downtown Flint and gave its citizens one more reason to love the city the way Mixon did.
“Oak was a king of Flint, a father that we all wanted to be like, an entrepreneur we all wanted to be like … he was royalty to us. He was luxury, he was quality. He was love,” Hunter said.
Others, like Michari Patterson, a close friend of Mixon’s who spoke with him every day leading up to his death and who rushed to the hospital to see him during his final minutes, remember Mixon just as fondly.
The two friends met at their first jobs working at Ponderosa Steakhouse. Oaklin was 15 and Patterson was 16.
Not long after that, Patterson said, the two were inseparable.
“He had a New York swag about him. I remember he had on this dope outfit and I walked up to him and told him his outfit was fresh. He turned around and said ‘thank you’ and we have been best friends ever since,” Patterson said.
Throughout high school, the two spent countless school nights watching Power Puff Girls, something Patterson said Mixon was always happy to do.
“He would catch the bus, catch a cab, he’d do whatever he could to come over. He never argued, he never complained. He was just so grateful. Grateful for the small things, grateful for the sunset,” Patterson said.
Even as he entered the hospital during what would be his last moments of life, Patterson said Oaklin still greeted her with a smile during their last video call.
Erica Sadler, another close friend of Mixon’s spoke about the ability Mixon had of motivating others and helping guide them in the right direction whenever direction was needed.
Sadler met Mixon during her time in college. Immediately, she said, the two grew a close bond. Not long after meeting him, Sadler said Mixon had become part of her family and had quickly come to be loved by her mother.
“We were just two peas in a pod, really. He felt like the older brother I always wanted.… He was just a great friend of my family’s. He worked for my mother at the bank and he really did become my big brother. He became a mentor to me for my business. That’s when he really began to just pour into my life in an amazing way,” Sadler said, stopping to catch her breath as she looked back on her time with Mixon.
Sadler, who moved to Iowa after getting married, said there was a time when she lost touch with Mixon but around 2014 the two started talking again. Struggling to start her own business in Iowa, Sadler said Mixon was an unfaltering beacon of motivation for her.
“I just looked up to him. I could be negative sometimes and he would never let me go too far. He always brought me back, he always shed light. He was encouraging and confident and he just instilled that in the people around him,” Sadler said. “I owe him so much. I loved his hugs, I loved his smile, I really admired the kind of father he was to his kids. He’s going to be really missed.”