Mary Lee Bates

Born: Sat., Aug. 28, 1926
Died: Tue., May 22, 2012

- Service details not available -

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Mary Lee Bates – born August 28, 1926, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on May 22nd, 2012 in Pendleton, Oregon. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, June 1st, 2012, at 10:00 A.M. at the Pendleton Vert Auditorium. A gathering will immediately follow the service, downstairs in the Vert Club Room. Disposition was by cremation and private inurnment will be held. For those who wish, memorial contributions in honor of Mary Bates may be made to the BMCC Foundation, or to the Scholarship Funds of: The First Christian Church, Altrusa Club of Pendleton or the AAUW, to the Salvation Army or any other charity of the donor's choice. Sign the online guestbook at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements. Mary was born in Ordway, Colorado, to the Reverend Dr. James Milton and Grace Allison Bennett, Mary was the third of eight children. Mary graduated from Vancouver Washington High School. She married Mel Bates on August 23rd, 1947. They enjoyed nearly sixty-five years of marriage together. Mary later received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and her Masters in Librarianship from the University of Washington. Mary cherished her family and friends and was very active in every community that she resided in. Her love of music continued throughout her life, singing in, and directing many choirs. With her words of encouragement, Mary had a special ability to coax a singing voice from those who thought they had no talent whatsoever. She enjoyed playing the flute, piano and organ. She loved the arts and enjoyed many concerts, plays and other performances. Mary and her husband Mel loved to travel. They participated in a 10K walk in each of the fifty states, as well as in each of the thirty-six Counties in Oregon. Besides visiting every state in the U.S., Mary and Mel had also traveled to many Canadian Provinces and seven European Countries. Education was an integral part of Mary's life, teaching at the elementary, high school, college and graduate levels. Her proudest professional accomplishment was serving as the founding librarian at Blue Mountain Community College, and continuing as the Director of Library Services. She was instrumental in the development, growth and leadership of the library since the college's inception. She served as President of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, Oregon Library Association, Eastern Oregon Library Association and the Oregon Community College Library Association. She also served as President of the local branch of the AAUW and the Pendleton Women's Club and was very active in the Altrusa Club of Pendleton. Mary was also honored with being selected as First Citizen of Pendleton in 1971. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, and brothers Burton Bennett and Dr. Samuel Bennett. She is survived by her husband Mel, son Richard & Cindi, daughter Kathy & Lamont, son Ron & Debbie and daughter Margie, grandchildren: Amy & Jukka, Cory & Jennifer, Sheena, Jefferson, Vincent, Jordan, Cody, Jayda, Janelle and great-grandchildren: Andrea, Afton, Chloe, Kaylynn and Lucas. Other survivors include her siblings: Theodore & Vi Bennett, Velma & Hubert Sales, Dr. Stephen & Mary Bennett, LoraBell & Wayne Stram and J. David & Bonnie Bennett, and sister-in-law Marillyn Bennett as well as her numerous nieces and nephews and many friends.

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Condolence Booklet

Steve and Peggy Bennett
   Posted Wed May 23, 2012
We will miss you very much, Aunt Mary. Our love and thoughts to Uncle Mel and the rest of your family.

Jack and Beverly Carstensen
   Posted Thu May 24, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Accept our sympathy.

Paula Martin
   Posted Thu May 24, 2012
Condolences to the family of Mrs. Mary Bates, a wonderful person who started the BMCC Library where I work as a Library Assistant today.

Rev. Jay Warden
   Posted Thu May 24, 2012
Mel, you and Mary were helpful to me as a young pastor. I am thankful for knowing Mary and the family. Remember the Living Nativity Scene and the tape recording we made? We had great times. Thank you and may God continue to be with you. Greetings to the family.

Linda Bates
   Posted Thu May 24, 2012
Thank you Aunt Mary for being a wonderful aunt. You always had an encouraging word. I'll never forget your visit to Crested Butte. It meant a lot to me. God bless you, Rest in peace My condolences; Uncle Mel, Kathy, Marge, Richard and Ron and your families. Love, Linda

Betty Ehlers
   Posted Fri May 25, 2012
I send my thoughts and prayers to Mel and family. I will miss my best friend. Mary had a heart of gold and I feel lucky to have known her.

Pam Nelson
   Posted Fri May 25, 2012
My prayers are with you all. Her obituary is very nicely done. I have always admired her passion as a librarian. Bless you all at this time of loss. Love, Pam Nelson

Darcy Dauble
   Posted Sat May 26, 2012
Mary was a significant part of the 'village' that helped raise all of us Daubles. Mary continued to be a major influence throughout my life as an educator,mentor and confident. Along with my mother she was a role model for women to excel as a homemaker,in service to the community and, professionally, in a leadership capacity.Her influence will continue in all who had the memorable experience of knowing her.

Lora Bell Stram
   Posted Sat May 26, 2012
Mary was the family unofficial ambassador. She and Mel made every effort to attend any family gathering: weddings, dinners, reunions, memorials etc. These events sometimes entailed long drives and many hours away from home. We are most thankful for their efforts. I have many great memories of our childhood as well as events in our adult lives. Mary has been a wonderful sister to me. The family will miss her terribly

Linda Moll Russell
   Posted Sat May 26, 2012
God Bless you Mary. You were like a 2nd mom to me. I remember the trip I took with you Mel and Marg to Yellowstone and Glacier and what a great time we had. I spent so much time at the house and ate countless hotdog pizza's which were Mel's speciality. God has gained a very special Angel and I hope and pray that you are in peace. When I think of you I will always smile and remember your wisdom and patience. I feel so blessed to have been able to share your life. Mel--I love you. Marg--We have been friends forever and that will continue. Ron, Kathy and Dick--Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your family.

Dora Sue Davidson Viall
   Posted Sun May 27, 2012
My prayers and thoughts are with all of your family. I remember Mary well from her years in Lexington. I am so glad that she and Mr. Bates were able to attend the reunion that we all had at the school in Lexington in 2007. She was a great lady and I know she will be missed by all of her family and friends.

peggy morris bronson
   Posted Tue May 29, 2012
Warmest thoughts and prayers are sent to the family. Your mother and father have always greeted me with a smile and they always seemed to be so warm in presence over the years. Thank you for sharing your wife and mother with me. God Bless all of you. Love, Peggy Bronson

Clifford Bates
   Posted Tue May 29, 2012
May God be with you thru this time of need and with you forevermore.

Daisy Cochran
   Posted Tue May 29, 2012
What a wonderful lady and friend who strove to make a difference in this world. May you, Mary's loved ones, find strength in the love that surrounds you and cherish the beautiful memories that fill your heart. I have many good memories of times shared with Mary...especially serving in various capacities with her in AAUW at both the local and state level. Together, we trekked to many meetings and conventions, mostly held in the valley, and shared housing...she was very patient with the fact that I needed a cooler room temperature than she did. Bless her heart! "They are not gone who live in the hearts, of others." Mary Lee Bates will truly live in my heart forever.

Susan Hilliard
   Posted Tue May 29, 2012
We extend our deepest sympathy to the Bates family. We will always remember Mary for her kindness to our family when we first moved to Pendleton. The Hilliard Family Tom, Susan, Matthew, Evan

Barb Rehberg
   Posted Tue May 29, 2012
I will always remember Mary's radiant smile - especially evident when she was talking about her beloved husband, or one of her children or grandchildren. I have never heard Mary say an unkind word about anyone - she always chose to believe the best in everyone - an attribute this world could use much more of. Mary, as you took your Saviors hand leading you to your eternal home, I pray that all will be comforted in knowing that the card catalogues in heaven will be in good order & up to date when we join you there someday! May the memories of your rich life bring comfort & peace to all your loved ones. Barb Rehberg

Staci & Andy Roberts
   Posted Wed May 30, 2012
We are all so blessed to have such a talented and wonderful spirit of a lady bless our lives. My heart goes out to Mary's family for there loss, but she is playing music in heaven with Jesus! Prayers and sympathy to those of us left behind. I remember as a waitress waiting on her and her family and the smile she had & the way she was with her children ya knew how much she loved them. She was kinda like a grandma to us all. We will miss you Mary see you in Heaven someday! Love and Peace to the family

Pamela Wachter
   Posted Wed May 30, 2012
Dear Mel and family; so sorry to hear about Mary's passing. I have so many memories of times in the Arlington school library and how she always managed to keep us all in line. My thoughts are with all of you. Pam

Brigit Farley
   Posted Wed May 30, 2012
Mary Bates was an outstanding citizen and contributor to her community and her country. She left the world a much better place than she found it.

Granella Key Thompson
   Posted Thu May 31, 2012
Mary Bates started me on a lifelong love for the piano and the flute in the summer of 1957. I got a bachelor of music, master of music, taught at BMCC. I have taught piano for over 36 years, as well as flute, and vocal music in public schools. I wish I had had the benefit of her fantastic instruction many more years than i got. I would be a more versatile pianist, and had better technique going into college if I had. I was a terrified performer after I left her instruction, never more terrified than when I was performing at BMCC and she was in the audience because I wanted so much to please her. she was always so encouraging. I remember her playing the flute with music on the kitchen counter and kids running around the house. I took up the flute and still play, and I have played with my 4 kids running around the house. I will never ever forget her.

Bettie Willingham Travis
   Posted Thu May 31, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers to the Bates family. Mary was such a lady and will be remembered for so many wonderful things especially her kindness and that radiant smile. God bless you Willie Willingham and family

   Posted Fri June 01, 2012
Dave and I will miss Mary as will so many others who have met and loved her wonderful guidance for so many years. Our best wishes to her wonderful family. Please know how much we appreciate you each sharing her with us.

Karen and Don Allen
   Posted Fri June 01, 2012
We are so sorry that Mary is no longer with us. She was a wonderful caring and compassionate person. We will miss her.

Tony Svetich
   Posted Fri June 01, 2012
Mary was a true friend, colleague and mentor. She was a quality person in every way. As her assistant in the library, side by side, for over twenty-five years, we work together in harmony to make BMCC library the high quality institution that it became under Mary’s leadership. She preached and practice service. It was an honor to be her friend and colleague. We had many long conversations traveling on long drives to library conferences, discussing and sharing ideas on a great variety of subjects. Mary was a true practicing Christian, humble and caring, and always respectful of others who she may have disagreed with. She will always be my mentor and friend. TONY SVETICH

Marjorie Hoeft
   Posted Sat June 02, 2012
Dear Family, Mary was my mentor and friend. We worked together at BMCC to build from the ground up the library that is now a showcase of her efforts. You must be very proud of her. Sincerely, Marjorie Hoeft

John C. Board
   Posted Sun June 03, 2012
Dear Bates Family, Forty or 41 years have passed since I first met Mary. She was one of my professors at the University of Oregon when I was pursuing a master's degree in library science. Mary was wonderful - full of life, energetic, knowledgeable, adamant for the issues she championed, supportive, and an all-around-good and loyal friend. Each Christmas we shared a list of those books we had read that we considered the best. My wife joins me in extending our deep and profound sympathy to the Bates Family and Mary's many friends. All of our lives have been touched by this wonderful woman. Sincerely,

Mildred Willingham
   Posted Mon June 04, 2012
I've known the Bates family since I was a child. Mrs. Bates was a very honest, and nice person. She will be missed by all.

Chuck Bates
   Posted Tue June 05, 2012
Uncle Mel, Kathy, Dick, Ron, Marge, and your families. I feel sadness at losing a part of my family. But I Know that sorrow will pass, and the many joyful memories of Life will endure. With Love Chuck

Suzi Gordon-Yasi
   Posted Thu August 30, 2012
Mary along with Mel were like an aunt & uncle to me. It was fun to spend time with them at the Pendleton round-up and my friend, their neice, Katie Bennett. Mary was a strong force and will be missed.

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