Buzz Oates Award

Brian Faulconer - 2016 Winner of the Buzz Oates Award

Brian Faulconer – 2016 Winner of the Buzz Oates Award

Marvin L. “Buzz” Oates


EastLawnFlag060716Marvin L. “Buzz” Oates, who built a $2,000 investment in a locksmith shop into one of the nation’s great fortunes through building and commercial development. He was a fourth-generation Sacramentan, founder and driving force behind companies that landed him on the 2005 Forbes magazine list of the nation’s wealthiest Americans, with an estimated net worth of $900 million. But he also was a devout Christian who spent countless hours devoting himself to charitable causes and giving away millions.

Oates worked virtually all of his life, including a stint as a bombardier flying missions over Japan during World War II. He returned from the war with $2,000 he had saved from his military pay and opened A&A Key Shop in 1946 with a business plan that included selling keys door to door for 41 cents. That grew into A&A Key and Builders Supply, which sold “everything from nails to televisions” and eventually became Buzz Oates Enterprises, according to a company history. (Sam Stanton/SacBee/Dec 2013)

Over the years, his family and business partners attributed his success to two factors: his dedication to hard work and his love of dealing with people.

The Buzz Oates RunSac Race Series is made of Sacramento’s best running events. The series provides an opportunity for Sacramento area runners to challenge themselves in running the best local races over a variety of distances throughout the year. The Buzz Oates RunSac Race Series highlights what makes the Sacramento running community the best running community in America; well-produced and managed running events, beautiful running routes, and passionate runners.

The annual Fab 40’s 5k Run/Walk benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association is proud to be part of the Buzz Oates RunSac Series and the official Sacramento 5k Championship. This event is brought to you by Capital Road Race Management. Rich Hanna and his crew are Northern California’s premier event management and timing company.

A special thanks to the Buzz Oates family for allowing us to present a yearly award in his honor at the annual Fab 40’s 5k Run/Walk.


1929 – 2011

Theda Mae (Florence) Oates was born on August 4, 1929 to Helen and Bill Florence. She grew up in Port Angeles, Washington with her 3 siblings, and as young adult moved to the Sacramento area where she met and married Marvin L. (Buzz) Oates. Together they raised 5 children who all still live in the area today. Theda’s passions were her relationships with God, family, friends; travel, cooking, hosting parties, and politics. In fact, Theda and Buzz had the privilege of entertaining many public figures in their home, including Ronald Reagan, while he was Governor of California. Theda began to show the signs of dementia at the age of 70 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years later. She passed away on December 18, 2011 at the age of 82. Her family had slowly watched her leave over 12 years, and rejoice that she is now in heaven with the Lord and many she loved here on earth.

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