DON GENE BATES, 71, of Wharton, TX, entered into
eternal rest on Oct. 8, 2013.
He was born on Feb 7, 1942 in Tenaha, TX to Oliver
& Mattie Lou Bates. He passed away two hours before
his beloved wife of 54 years, Lynn Bates, who was
by his side until the end. Theirs was a true love
Don is preceded in death by his parents; & brother,
Don grew up in Tenaha in a loving family. Don was an
outstanding high school athlete excelling in football,
basketball, & track. Don received a football scholarship
from Sam Houston State University & majored in physical
education. Don played tight end & played on Sam Houstonís
1964 NAIA National Championship football team. Don
received his undergraduate degree and followed with a
Masters in Kinesiology.
Don married his college sweetheart, twirler/dancer, Lynn
Rodgers, in August of 1966. His football coaching jobs
took them to Hitchcock, Lumberton, Brownsville, & Wharton
ISDís, as well as to Sam Houston State University, Ranger
Junior College, and Wharton County Junior College.
Don also worked in the construction industry, selling
specialty building materials. He worked for Hungerford
Brick Company for a few years and the last 26 years
with R. M. Rodgers, Inc. (Houston).
Don set an example of physical fitness as he ran the
Houston, San Francisco, and Boston Marathons. He ran,
worked out and rode bicycles for decades. He also won
a State doubles horseshoe-throwing tournament. He was
an avid outdoors-man who enjoyed fishing & deer hunting.
He loved his time and friends at the deer lease.
His legacy is that of teacher, coach, & friend. Whether
in sports, business or life he enjoyed helping others.
Being a mentor and role model was his gift. Donís sense
of humor made him endearing to all who were around him.
He will be missed.
At the time of his death, Don Bates was survived by his
sister, Sara Stupic (Cleveland, OH); and niece, Judy
Schnelle and husband Jerry (Springtown, TX) and their
son Justin his wife Patricia and children Ally, Hannah,
and Ian and daughter Jana Lynn Whitsitt her husband
Justin and children Tyler, Andrew, Stephanie, and Andi
Lynn; and nephew, Michael Bates (Corpus Christi) and
children Sean and Matthew.