Gary Gene Bates was born Oct. 4, 1946, to Virgil and Mary E. (Thompson) Bates in Licking, Mo. He was born with a heart defect and the doctors said he wouldn’t make it through childhood. He was made of stronger stuff than that. He grew up on his parent’s farm, No. 10 of 11 children.

He moved to Chicago when he was around 18 years old, and lived there for many years, working in various fields. He was a machinist; he worked in construction; he owned a mechanic shop for a while, and he also worked at Chicago Rawhide.

In the late ’80s, he moved back to Licking with his new wife, Jane. Here he started running a small herd of cows. He had his cows, his tractors and his trucks. His favorite was his pride and joy, the ’57 Chevy Bel Air. He loved showing it at car shows. He also liked to fish and go to the races.

He loved his family and friends. He enjoyed having big barbecues with everyone invited.

He later met Alice Vessey and they joined their families on July 15, 2017.

Gary is preceded in death by his first wife; his parents; his brothers Ed, Bob, Chuck and Wayne; and his sisters, Edna, Marie, Louise and Virginia.

He is survived by his partner, Alice Vessey; Chuck, Conrad and Carl; and his sons: Gary Jr. and Larry, his brothers, Dean and Ray; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Visitation is 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Evans Funeral Home, with services beginning at 2 p.m. in the chapel with Pastor Erin McConnell officiating. Burial is in Ellis Prairie Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers are Jesse Wilson, Joe Bates, Roy Bates, Austin Diedrich, Anthony Sawyer and Jason Coble.

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