Stuart R. Bates
1925 - 2021
November 11, 1925 - December 17, 2021 Not many, especially at 96, die of a tennis accident, but ultimately this is what took Stuart. Born in Pasadena, Stu attended Pasadena High, then Caltech, majoring in mechanical engineering.
Every year, throughout high school and college, he lettered in basketball and track. After attending USC for his MS and Redlands for a teaching credential, he started his career as a teacher at Covina High. Mr. Bates taught chemistry, physics, and math, and coached basketball and track for 38 years.
For someone with a careening driving style, he was an interesting choice for the school's driver's training instructor. His best friend, Steve Iverson, taught in the room next door and they remained close friends until Steve passed last year. Stu came from a family of teachers, and so knew how hard the work is, but also the freedom of summer-long vacations!
Each year he and Audrey piled Ward, Reed, and Laurye Ellen into the station wagon crammed with camping gear, dogs, and homemade sandwiches. The family explored all 48 contiguous United States. Every trip was an adventure and those, along with mishaps, are bound together in memory. There was the time when one of the kids was misplaced on the New Jersey Turnpike or the time that when backpacking seven days into the Sierras the fog stopped them all in their tracks. It wasn't unusual for Stuart and Audrey to wake the kids and head to the desert at 3 am to watch meteors or to stare up at the stars.
While there wasn't a lot of money, the Bates' journeys never lacked for enthusiasm, creativity, or two slices of bread glued together by PB & J. Cross country trips to the family cabin in Lake Muskoka, Canada, and more frequently up the road to the Mineral King cabin in Sequoia National Park, were gifts that continue to keep on giving to each of their children and now their grandchildren. A World War II Navy veteran, he also served in the Navy Reserve, and retired after 43 years as a Lieutenant Commander. Always looking out for others, Stu helped Covina's homeless by coordinating the Covina Emergency Aid Food Bank. At 90, he took his last mission to Mexico with his church to help with some construction. No longer able to do the building, he went and made sandwiches for the other volunteers.
He spent his life doing whatever he could whatever the circumstances allowed. He felt grateful for having been given the opportunity to do so, especially as he aged. First Presbyterian Church in Covina was Stuart's spiritual home for over 65 years. He served humbly on various boards and committees and watched many a pastor come and go. One of his quiet commitments was driving widows to attend church. Once again, doing what he could at the given time.
When you met Stuart, it was soon clear that he viewed the good in you as the all of you. Think about that as a philosophy in these times. His children want the world to know that they had the best of parents, and a wonderful childhood. He is survived by his children, Ward (Anthony Alanis), Reed, and Laurye Ellen (Julie Ann Sherman), and two granddaughters, Lorin & Stephanie. When Audrey passed they had been carrying on their love affair for 62 years. He cared for her lovingly as Alzheimer's slowly took her in 2012.
A life lived exuding kindness and decency, coupled with his firm belief in heaven, he looked toward joining her. Chances are good they're up there playing tennis! The memorial service will be on 2/12/22, 11 AM at the First Presbyterian Church 310 N. Second Ave. Covina, CA 91723. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Alzheimer's Association, or to First Pres to help repair their organ. Mountain View Cemetary Alta Dena, Ca Published by San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Jan. 21, 2022.