Lonnie Bates was born on March 26, 1936, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Bill and Ethel Bates. He was the third of five children born to this union. Lonnie was educated in the Oklahoma School District. He attended Canaan Church School and Langston Elementary. He graduated from Manual Training High School, where he was a top football player, obtaining a football scholarship to Langston University, where he majored in Physical Education. Lonnie later transferred from Langston when he relocated to California in 1955 settling in Oakland, California, where he attended San Francisco City College on a track scholarship.
Lonnie has always had strong work ethics, he displayed this quality while going to school, and working several jobs at the same time. His first job after arriving in California was working with Mr. Howard at the gas station. He quickly added the United States Post Office and Montgomery Wards to his employment resume. The motto of the United States Post Office is “We deliver your mail through rain, snow, sleet or hail,” little did he know that while delivering mail on 90th Avenue he would receive his own “special package” through the blessings of the late Doris Turner, aunt of Dorothy Jean Bates. She told him that she had a niece that was here from LA and that she wanted him to take her out! Lonnie and Dorothy dated for five years before entering into Holy Matrimony; on September 9th would have marked their 51st wedding Anniversary.
Lonnie enjoyed entertaining, planting flowers in anyone’s yard that would allow him. Anyone who knew him knew that he loved to eat! Lonnie was also a connoisseur of cars, where he enjoyed purchasing, selling, and driving them; his pride and joy of all was his 1976 Excalibur.
Together, Lonnie and Dorothy whom he lovingly called “champ” accomplished many things in life such as Fairfax Liquors, Bates Hall, and Fairfax Motors. He was a kind spirit who loved his family and his friends and he was a sharp dresser, known for his colorful sweaters. He has been recognized through many community and civic organizations for his tireless efforts, time, dedication, decorating and giving of himself in going over and beyond so that his family, friends and customers could have the very best whether in his home, store or hall.
Preceding Lonnie in death were his parents, Bill and Ethel Bates; one brother Quinton Tony Bates. Those remaining to cherish his memories are his beloved wife of 50 years, Dorothy Jean Bates; adopted children, Eddie Harris and Rosalyn Moore both of Sacramento, California; three siblings, Roy Bates (Sally) of Orange, California, Barbara Jean Rucker of Lake Elsinore, California, James Bates (Linda) of Lake Elsinore, California; three godchildren, Sheryl Denise Simons of Sacramento, California, Whitney Wilson and Blair Wilson of Fresno, California; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends and everyone in the Castro Valley and Oakland Community who has ever had the honor and privilege of meeting and knowing Our Beloved Lonnie Bates.
September 11, 2013 • 11:00 AM
Reverend Thurston C. Callier, III