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Henry Bates was born on the easily remembered date of 5-25-25 to John and Hazel Bates in Baker, Ore. A memorial services is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25, at 2 p.m. in the Mount Hope Cemetery at Baker City, Ore. He was the oldest brother of Glen, Carol (Young,) Nancy (Fee) and Susan (Derreck).
He grew up in Baker, later moving to Huntington Ore., and graduated with the Huntington Class of 1943. The Baker graduating class of 1943 still welcomed him as one of their own and he helped organize and attended many enjoyable reunions with this group. After graduation, he began working for the Union Pacific Railroad. He worked for the railroad in various jobs for 43 years.
During WWII, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific. He saw it all, from Alaska to Tahiti. While on a stop in Long Beach, Calif., he met Roberta Brixey. They were married on November 14, 1944.
Henry and Roberta started their married life in Huntington. They moved to La Grande, Ore. in 1954 where they raised their children John, Alicia (Smith), Wayne, Joy (Morris) and Nancy. Henry and Roberta opened their home to foster children, serving as foster parents for 12 years, further extending their family. Henry also was very proud of his grandchildren: Tricia, Mike, Brian, Marion, Kris, and Aubrey as well as his honorary grandchildren.
Henry was very active in the community of La Grande serving on the City Council from 1973 to 1982, serving as a member of the Youth Services Board, serving on the League of Oregon Cities and as a member of the PTA. He had belonged to the La Grande Methodist Church and the La Grande Christian Church.
After the death of his wife, Roberta in 1997, he moved back to Baker City to be close to his family and friends. In April of 2000, he married Ivolene Dunn. They enjoyed fishing together, watching football and going to yard sales. Ivolene preceded him in death.
Henry belonged to the Baker City Methodist Church and was a member of the American Legion where he had served as a Chaplain. He was active with the Methodist Church Boy Scout program.
Henry was a man of quiet strength and love. He always had a positive attitude about life and helped others whenever he could. He spent his time finding yard sale treasures, building WWII model airplanes, reading, playing golf, and fishing as much as possible. Henry was also known for his great waffles. Henry taught his family and honorary family to be loving, kind, and to keep a caring attitude. We are better for having had him in our lives and are very sorry to have lost him. He died on Sept. 17, 2009.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that you donate to a charity of your choice through Gray’s West & Company Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, Ore. 97814.
Used with permission from: The Record Courier, Baker City, Oregon September 24, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor