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Man who kept Mount Rushmore lights on dies

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May 7, 2014 03:51 PM EST | AP


KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man who drew national attention in the mid-1990s when he paid to keep the lights on at Mount Rushmore National Memorial during a federal government shutdown has died.

Arthur Oakes, of Keystone, died Monday after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

Oakes wrote a check for $240 in late 1995 to keep the stone-carved faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt illuminated for a week.

Marilyn Oakes says her husband who was politically active throughout his life wanted to show that ordinary people can make a difference. She says she did not object when he took the money out of their meager family travel budget.

A funeral is planned for Saturday.