Jason ‘Coach O’ Oatis

Jason “Coach O” Oatis had his own personal rapture on Feb. 17, 2022 and fell immediately into the arms of his savior, Jesus. When he got there he heard, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Raised in the church, he found his church home in Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara where he served for many years.

Jason was born on April 23, 1959 in Monroe, Louisiana, and moved to Santa Barbara at the age of two. He attended McKinely, Franklin, Santa Barbara Junior High School and Santa Barbara High School, and then Mesa College San Diego where he was a music major and completed his teaching credential at UCLA.

In true Jason style, he met his future wife Judy on the playground when he was subbing while both worked at Montecito Union School. It was a whirlwind romance, and they were married 10 months after they met. Their two children, Matthew and Rachel soon followed, their pride and joy.

Jason was quoted as saying, “I believe we all have an opportunity in life to make life better or to help someone. My hope for all of us is when we have the chance, we will take it.”

Jason took many opportunities to invest in people. He was a physical education teacher at Santa Barbara City College, Montecito Union, Santa Barbara Christian School, Carpinteria High School, Cold Spring Elementary and Canalino Elementary.

In his early years, “Coach O” worked in both track and football with the San Diego Stars Track Club, UCSB, and Santa Barbara City College. He was Sports Summer Camp director at the Montecito YMCA and the Westmont College Track and Field Summer Camp director.

He passionately enjoyed 17 years at Cold Spring Elementary and the 27 years on the track and field of Westmont College. Jason volunteered at a variety of events and in many ways at Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, from the “Bible Buck Store” to the Security Team and with his Bible Study group.

He represented Cold Spring School as the safety coordinator with M.E.R.R.A.G. and was always known for helping a neighbor in need. Carpinterians all knew his smile from his daily walks.

Another quote from Jason was: “It’s not about me.”

He lived out his faith on a daily basis. He found others to be the focus of his life’s passion, from God, to his amazingly lovely wife Judy, to spending time with his compassionate, honest and hardworking children.

They enjoyed trips to Kauai and dreamt of living there. Jason brought back Kauai Sugarloaf pineapple tops and proceeded to propagate them into 100 pineapple plants. He loved working in his garden and built his own koi pond.

The family spent time fishing, did extended family camps at Lake Casitas where he was proud of the one big fish he caught. He loved his Hoka shoes which allowed him to walk everywhere. He would pray at the drop of the hat for anyone.

His friend, Coach Smelley said about him, “Coach O had an effervescent smile, a contagious laugh, and a heart that brimmed with encouragement and acceptance. The testimonies to his influence on attitudes and life enhancing conversations are legendary and beyond count.”

Jason is survived by his wife Judy; son Matthew; daughter Rachel, mother, Mrs. Clevonease Johnson; sisters; Mrs. George Etta Milam and Mrs. Berna Oatis-Larson; and many other extended family.

To his former students, athletes, family and friends, Jason would want you watch the movie “Galaxy Quest” and recall: “Never give up, never surrender!”

And to remember Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

A celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m. March 27 at Murchison Gym, Westmont College, 955 La Paz Road, Santa Barbara. Hawaiian attire and carpooling are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Samaritan’s Purse or Destined For Grace.