Zoe Irene Oakleaf was born July 23, 1948 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to John and Gustie Durilla. She died at home in Little Rock, March 23, 2019. Zoe is survived by her husband of 46 years, Ernie Oakleaf, her daughter, Alice, her sister Susan Briggs (Cliff) of Fort Smith, and three nephews, Tripper (Keely) of Atlanta, Georgia, John (Angie) of Memphis, Tennessee, and Luke, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her parents and her great-niece Sloane Simmons Briggs. Zoe was a 1966 graduate of Fort Smith Southside High School. She began her college career at Christian College (now Columbia College) in Columbia, Missouri, transferring after a year. She enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and became a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in history. Zoe received her PhD in history from the University of Iowa in 1982, with an emphasis in English history. Zoe conducted her dissertation research as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University in England in association with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure. Zoe taught history and political science at the University of Iowa, Troy State University's European Division, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also served as Deputy Director of the Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services, and Director of Market Research for Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. In 1983 Zoe and Ernie founded Opinion Research Associates, Inc., a marketing research company in Little Rock. Conducting primarily opinion surveys and focus groups, the company conducted private political polls on candidates and issues, as well as publicly released political surveys for such clients as KATV television and the Arkansas News Bureau. The company has also done studies for commercial and public sector clients including financial institutions, hospitals, municipalities, school districts, and utilities, among others. Zoe was a devotee of detective fiction, especially Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Any such list must also include P.G. Wodehouse. Her appreciation of farce served her well. She was an advocate for social justice so long as no one gets hurt. Zoe will be fondly remembered for her sharp wit and a warm and generous heart. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 28, 2019 at Christ Episcopal Church, 509 Scott St., Little Rock, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the American Cancer Society or another charity. Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.
Published March 26, 2019