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Robert Lane Bates 1922-2012

POSTED March 10, 2012 4:54 p.m.

GREAT BEND — Robert Lane Bates, 89, died March 10, 2012 at his home in Great Bend.
He was born June 16, 1922 at Hingham, Mass., the son of Fred and Helen (Lane) Bates.
Mr. Bates married Phyllis Kolterman November 2, 1952, in Topeka. They were later divorced. He then married Neoma L. (Dennis) Williams Nov. 8, 1975, in Great Bend. She survives. 
Mr. Bates had been a Great Bend resident since 1953 coming from Topeka.
He was a graduate of the Boston University School of Law and was an attorney having practiced in the Great Bend area for more than 60 years. He served as Probate Judge, Municipal Judge, and Assistant County Attorney.
Mr. Bates served our country as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Air Force for about 10 years including World War II and during the Korean Conflict.  That service was as the Navigator of a B-17 crew and training bomber crews at Forbes Air Force Base in Kansas during the Korean Conflict.  Mr. Bates was involved in the Unification of the Great Bend School District No. 1 and No. 7.  
He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Great Bend, where he held many church offices and led four Disciple Classes. He served as the Great Bend USD 428 board attorney for almost 30 years.  He assisted with the organization of the Barton County Community College and served as the Community College board attorney for 10 years.  He helped organize the USD 428 Foundation. He has been an active VFW and American Legion member.  He served a term as Post Commander of the American Legion Post.  He has a long history of membership in the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of Directors. 
During the Mayorship of H.C. Davis, he served on the Great Bend Arts Council.  In the early 1960s, he assisted with a reorganization of the United Way.  He helped guide the development of the Barton County Mental Health Association.  He also volunteered as a member of the Retired Senior Volunteers Corps.  He was a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club of Great Bend, in which he served as President, Board of Directors, District Lt. Governor, on many committees, and was the recipient of the club sponsored “Making Great Bend Greater,” award.  He was an avid K.U. Jayhawks and Boston Red Sox fan, and enjoyed playing golf.
Survivors include his wife, Neoma Bates, of the home; two sons, James Robert Bates and wife Jennifer, Denver, Colo.; Dennis Lane Bates and wife Lisa, Lincoln, Neb.; a step-son, Darren Williams, Great Bend; a daughter: Michele “Shelley” Bates, Great Bend; a step-daughter, Lisa Williams Thompson and husband Walter, Olathe; a brother, William Bates and wife Ella, Dover, Del.; and six grandchildren, Jaxon Bates, Emma Thompson, Breanna Schartz, Brady Williams, Kori Birzer, and Brittney Birzer.
A Memorial Service is scheduled at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 13 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Great Bend with Rev. Jeff Slater and Chaplain Ron Moser officiating. Inurnment will be at Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, with military honors conducted by the United States Air Force, at a later date.
Visitation is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, March 12 with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bryant Funeral Home.
Memorials are suggested to Trinity United Methodist Church, in care of Bryant Funeral Home.
Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by
Bryant Funeral Home #  
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, KS, 67530
Great Bend (Kan) Tribune, March 11, 2012


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