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Donald “Don” Bates was born on April 16, 1936, in Salem, Ohio, and passed away peacefully on October 10, 2023 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s dementia.
Son of John Glenn Bates and Ada V. Entrikin, he was raised in Salem, Ohio. He attended Washingtonville Elementary and Leetonia High. Growing up on a farm, he learned the importance of hard work at a young age, rising early every morning to perform chores before going to school. Always the athlete, he played running back for the Leetonia Bears football team. Multitalented, he also performed in plays, choir, and, of course, the band!
He travelled to THE Ohio State University, where he met the love of his life Dorothy Ann (“Dottie”) Duerr. While there, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1959, followed by a masters of business administration with a focus on marketing in 1962. Throughout his years there, he became a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, the Society of American Military Engineers, the Business Organization of Graduate Students, and most importantly, he played the trumpet in the Ohio State Buckeye marching band – travelling to three Rose bowls.
Marrying Dottie shortly after graduation and then two years in the army, he started work with the Standard Oil of Ohio/Sohio (later British Petroleum/BP), where he was employed for over 30 years. They lived in Ohio and western Pennsylvania for almost 15 years, while growing the Bates family and taking his children to all manner of Cleveland sporting events. He was also an avid softball outfielder, playing the entire time he lived in Cleveland. Transferred by BP for a three-year stint in Alaska, he was dubbed the most loyal Cleveland Browns fan (by the principal Cleveland newspaper) for continuing his season tickets while living in Anchorage. Ultimately, he moved his family to Texas in 1983, where he spent the remaining 40 years of his life.
After moving to Houston, he quickly found a home for his family at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, where he was active for over 40 years. He (and Dottie) participated in the Pathfinders Sunday school class throughout their entire time in Houston, and Don also served as an usher for over 30 years. He was a longtime member of the Board of Stewards, serving on many committees, and eventually receiving the Servant of Christ award. Don was also a Flame Alive member of the Chapelwood Foundation, donating his time and money to the continuation of the ministries of the church in perpetuity.
Retiring from BP in 1999, he decided he was bored and started a second career at Marathon Oil. After retiring for good, he then poured his energy into Collegiate Challenge, helping disadvantaged high school seniors apply for scholarships and college. Outside of his devotion to Chapelwood, he (along with Dottie) was also on the board of Childbuilders for over a decade, and both were honored with the Amazing Grace Award for their collective impact on the organization and the community.
Throughout his life, he emphasized that none of his accomplishments would have been possible without the help and support of his beloved wife Dottie, the spiritual grounding of the Methodist church, and his coterie of lovely friends throughout these many years.
The family would also like to extend their love and gratitude to Don’s caregivers while he was at home, at Amazing Place, and at the Belmont Village – and especially to the angels from Cornerstones Hospice during the last months of his life. They all cared for Don with tremendous love over these last years.
Beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle, Don was preceded in death by his loving wife of 57 years, father, mother, and sister Vivian Marie Tullis (Richard). He is survived by his son Jeffrey Todd; son Jon Christian (Diana Ray) and grandchildren Ashton Bates Reed (Kendall), Sydney, Christian and Everett; and daughter Anne Stephanie. Survived also by his nephew Larry Tullis and grand-nephew Lance; and his niece Sherry Huston (Richard) and grand-nephews Michael, Matthew, and Nathan, and grand-niece Nicole.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held at eleven o’clock in the morning on Monday, the 20th of November, in the chapel at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 11140 Greenbay Street in Houston, with Reverend Josef Klam officiating. Immediately following the service, the family cordially invites all friends to a reception at the church where they encourage everyone to share fun memories and stories about him.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed in his name either to the Chapelwood Foundation or to Amazing Place, two charities that played enormously important parts in his life.