Mary Lee Bates

  • Born: August 28, 1926
  • Died: May 22, 2012
  • Location: Pendleton, Oregon

Tribute & Message From The Family

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.