Billy Bates '53 August 1, 2023 1:30 PM updated: August 1, 2023 1:42 PM
Billy Ralph Bates
May 25, 1932 — July 6, 2023
Billy Ralph Bates, of Waxahachie, Texas, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, coach, school administrator, and friend, was welcomed to his Heavenly Home on July 6, 2023. He was born on May 25, 1932, in Neely, Mississippi, to Clifton Houston Bates and Corinne Pruet Bates and moved to Texas at three months of age. He was born again into God’s family at the age of 12 in Vernon, Texas.
Billy attended elementary schools in Bryan, Vernon, and Aspermont, and graduated from A&M Consolidated High School, College Station, in 1949. He spent 1-1/2 years at Texas A&M University before volunteering for service in the US Army during the Korean War. He returned to A&M in 1954 to complete his B.S. and later earned advanced degrees at A&M.
He met Carole, his bride of almost 66 years, during summer school sessions at A&M. After their marriage in Bryan in August, 1957, Billy & Carole began their teaching and coaching careers in Rockport. Billy later taught and coached in George West, Cameron, and Cisco. He served as assistant-principal at McKinney High School and superintendent in Rosebud, before moving to Waxahachie in 1970. He served as superintendent of WISD fifteen years, where he designed the integration plan, started kindergarten, established the career technology center, and headed two successful bond programs. He served as chairman of the State Textbook Committee and held membership in several administrative organizations.
After retirement in 1985, Billy served as a monitor and a master for the Texas Education Agency, assisting school districts where firm leadership & financial expertise were needed. He also worked for Region 11 Education Service Center and as an interim superintendent for Italy and Milford school districts.
He and Carole enjoyed twenty years on their farm near Avalon before returning to Waxahachie in 2005. Also enjoying the farm and rides with Paw Paw/Pop were six grandchildren. Travel was a hobby during early retirement years when Billy and Carole visited Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia, Germany & Austria, Canada, Hawaii, and made numerous trips to Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, South Padre Island, and Branson. They spent special vacations with their grandchildren visiting Nova Scotia, New England, Pennsylvania and East Texas.
Billy was known for his wit, wisdom, and story-telling, as well as his love of sports. He often regaled his fellow Sunday school class members with his stories.
Preceding him in death were his parents, three brothers, Harold Edwin Bates, Clifton Edward Bates, Jeffrey Dan Bates, and one sister, Dorothy Jean Bates Galvin.
He is survived by his loving wife Carole Jan Lynch Bates, daughter Laura Lucille Bates Hodge and husband DeWain of Waxahachie, son Lawrence “Larry” Elliott Bates and wife Andrea of Houston, and six grandchildren, Amanda Hodge Altamirano (Mario), Melanee Hodge (Mike), Courtney Hodge Langford (Chris), Ashley Hodge Darden (Brandon), William Russell Bates, and Hannah Elise Bates, and eight great-grandchildren.
Celebration of Life service will be July 11, 2023, at 2 p.m. at Wayne Boze Chapel, 1826 US-287 Business, Waxahachie, with visitation to follow.
Memorial gifts can be made to The Men’s Downtown Bible Class (P.O. Box 616, Waxahachie, TX 75168) or Alzheimer’s Disease Research, https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers, BrightFocus Foundation (22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871).