HODGDON - Donald R. Bates, 85, was reunited with his wife of 50 years in heaven with their Lord June 18, 2013, after a year long battle with cancer. He was born Oct. 6, 1927, in Linneus, son of the late J. Gordon and Adelaide (Webster) Bates.
Donald graduated from Houlton High School in the class of 1945. He was a veteran of World War II
. Donald graduated from Aviation Fundemental School and also Air Traffic Control Tower Operator School at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. He served the rest of his service time as an air traffic control tower operator for the U.S. Navy
. He received a Good Conduct Medal and World War II Victory medal. Jan. 17, 1953, Donald married his best friend and love of his life, Nola Stilwell. He farmed with his father, raising Arabian horses in Linneus. Later he worked for Petroleum Products. He spent the next 30 years employed at the Houlton Post Office where he received the Special Postal People award for outstanding performance, above and beyond the call of duty. Donald was an active member of Hodgdon United Methodist Church where he served several capacities. He was a life member of Houlton Monument Lodge 96 AF & AM. Donald enjoyed cross-country skiing well into his 80s and was a master woodworker with an eye for detail. He created numerous items for his family, friends, and his church and was always up for a challenge. He also looked forward to his cardiac rehab classes with his friends and the staff at Houlton Regional Hospital. He loved spending time with his family whom he loved very much. Everyone who met him always commented on what a kind, sweet and gentle person he was, who always put others before himself. He was a living testament of how to treat others and live an honest and Godly life. All those who were blessed to know him were better because of it.
Donald will be sadly missed by his daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Paul Steward of Hodgdon; son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Misty Bates of Nashua, N.H.; and his three adoring granddaughters and two grandsons-in-law, Amber and Chris Brown of Gray, Sarah and Brent Estabrook of Linneus and Riley Bates of Nashua, N.H., will greatly miss their Papa's kind spirit and wonderful sense of humor. Donald's three great-grandchildren, Alisha and Zachary Brown of Gray, and Charlotte Estabrook of Linneus, were blessed to have had him as a Great-Pap and will delight in listening to his life stories for years to come. He will also be missed by his sisters, Madeline Adams and Leta Adams both of Linneus; as well as many nieces and nephews. Donald was reunited with sisters, Delicia Kenny, Maxine Bither and Glenice Vachon; and brothers, Gordon and George Bates.
Friends are invited to visit with the family 10 a.m. until service time noon Saturday, at Dunn Funeral Home, with the Rev. Marilyn Rohdin officiating. Interment will be at Hodgdon Cemetery. Friends may make gifts in Donald's memory to Hodgdon United Methodist Church or Houlton Humane Society, care of Dunn Funeral Home, 11 Park St., Houlton, ME 04730. Online guest book and condolences at www.dunnfuneral.com