Leroy Bates

Obituary of Leroy Bates

Leroy A. Bates, age 100, passed away in Hillsboro Medical Center on September 27, 2023.  Leroy was born near Battleground, Washington November 12, 1922.  He spent his elementary school years in up-state New York, and moved to Portland in 1938.  His interest in amateur radio led him to earn a Ham license as W7HXG in 1939, while still attending Lincoln High School, and also to serve as a radio operator with the 218th Field Artillery of the Oregon National Guard.

After graduating from Lincoln High School, he attended Oregon State College in 1942, where he pledged Alpha Sigma Phi, and met his sweetheart Dorothea Harris.  In 1943 they were married, entered communications training as a couple with the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and were posted to the Alaska Territory. Leroy and Dorothea operated communications facilities at Nome and on Middleton Island, where Leroy was the youngest station chief in the CAA, performing communications relay, weather observations and air traffic control. 

After World War II, both continued their education, initially at UC Berkeley and later at Portland State College.  Leroy earned a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in teaching, and taught primary students at Llewellyn and Marcus Whitman Elementary Schools from January of 1960 until his retirement in December 1980.  He also served as the founding president of the Willamette Valley DX Club of the Amateur Radio Relay League in 1955. In 1969 he earned a private pilot license, and purchased a 1946 Aeronca Champ, which he later sold and purchased a 1946 Stinson Voyager, which he flew until 1975. 

In 1983 Leroy and Dorothea moved into the Tolovana Park house originally built by Dorothea’s parents.  Leroy was active as a volunteer at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center, and a member of the Gideons International.  An avid RC modeler, Leroy (assisted by Dorothea) was often seen flying radio-controlled models at coastal sites including Nehalem Bay State Airport, Camp Rilea, and Long Beach.

Leroy is survived by Dorothea Bates, 99 –his wife of more than 80 years; son Russell Bates and his wife Linnea Bowman; son Jim Bates and his wife Mary Bates; grandchildren Elizabeth, Christina, Michael, Stephanie, Rachel, Timothy and Rebecca, and great-grandchildren Meredith and Jane; Rhiannon, Benjamin and Will; and Willow.

Suggested donations: Gideons International, The Navigators and Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center.

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