Benjamin H. Bates
Benjamin H. Bates
  • September 4, 1933 - October 4, 2017
  • Sun City, Texas

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Benjamin Henry Bates, of Sun City, California, passed away peacefully at the age of 84, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. He was born September 4, 1933, in Texas, to the late Herman C. Bates Sr., and the late Mattie Lou Thompson Anglin.

Ben is survived by his loving fiancée, Valerie McGee; daughter, Bliss; sons, Brandon, Eddie, and Ben Jr.; brothers, Charles and Bill Bates; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Herman C. Bates Jr. and John Bates.

A visitation will be held on Friday, October 13, 2107 from 10-12 PM at Richardson Colonial Funeral Home, 123 Newlin St., Port Lavaca. Funeral services will be Friday at 2 PM at Alamo Heights Baptist Church, 110 Trinity Shores Dr., Port Lavaca with burial to follow in Greenlawn Gardens with military honors under the auspices of Calhoun County Veterans Joint Honor Guard.

Ben proudly served his country in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He operated heavy equipment during the week and rodeoed on weekends, setting arena records and winning championship buckles. Ben qualified for to the National Finals Rodeo twice in Steer Wrestling.

Ben was the Marlboro Man, appeared in many TV commercials, was the Stunt Double for James Arness for 25 years, and worked as a Stuntman and Stunt Coordinator in movies and television series. Ben was very involved with his children's rodeo activities, and served 2 terms as President of the Junior Rodeo Association of California. Recently, Ben was honored with the Silver Spur Award in Hollywood, from the Reel Cowboys. In Dodge City, Kansas, he was sworn in as a Special Deputy Dodge City Marshal and, Ben was honored with a medallion on The Dodge City Trail of Fame. Ben was a hard working family man, a Christian, and very loving and honorable. He touched many people's lives and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cal Farley's Boys Ranch.

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