Reverend Dr. Leslie Bates died on May 28, 2014 in Asheville, N.C. at the John Keever Solace Center surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by Katherine Evelyn Stone Bates, his wife of over 71 years; by his sister, Esther Hansen of Weaverville, N.C.; and by his children: Daniel Bates and his wife, Ann Fratcher, of Greer, S.C.; Bette Bates and her husband, Robert Tynes, of Black Mountain N.C.; and Ellen Bates Board and her husband, Charles, of Cary, N.C. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Alison and Robin Tynes and William, Benjamin and Nicholas Board.
Leslie McKinley Bates was born on April 30, 1919 to William McKinley Bates and Ally Davison Bates in Summerfield, Ohio. In 1938 he received a BA degree from Greenville College, Greenville, Ill. He later earned a Bachelors and Masters of Sacred Theology from New York Theological Seminary.
On Dec. 31, 1942 Leslie was married in Buffalo, N.Y. to Katherine E. Stone, whom he had met at Greenville College a few years before. In 1951, he received a PhD in philosophical theology from Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. and soon after accepted a position teaching religion and philosophy at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. While teaching at Stephens, he also served as pastor to a number of Methodist Churches in Central Missouri.
In 1968, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study Indian philosophy at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India. After teaching at Stephens College for 33 years, he and his wife retired and then spent two years in Japan teaching conversational English in Dazaifu in Kyushu, Japan. In 1990, they moved to Black Mountain to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Leslie was a man with a wide variety of interests—be it gardening, politics, playing chess with his grandsons, listening to the beautiful vocal harmonies of his granddaughters or traveling the world. He fully lived in the moment every day of his life. He was a man equally at home contemplating the complex philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead with his brilliant mind or building the family home in Missouri with his own sturdy hands. He was a man who combined a keen sense of humor and sharp wit with a deep abiding reverence for the natural beauty he saw all around him. Leslie devoted his life to social justice and helping others and, no matter the situation, he always brought out the best in those around him.
But the real story of Leslie's life is the love story that he and his wife Connie crafted through every day of their more than seventy-one years of marriage. They drew enormous strength and support from each other and the unswerving devotion and love they had for each other enriched the lives of everyone around them. The story of Leslie's life in three simple words is "Leslie and Connie."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Black Mountain United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 517, Black Mountain, N.C. 28711. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at the Black Mountain Methodist Church in August (date to be announced). Condolences may be sent to www.harwoodhomeforfunerals.com Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals. 828-669-2977