1917 – 2013

LEWISTON — Walter G. Bates, 96, a resident of Line Road in Greene, died Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Marshwood Health Center.

He was born in Leeds on Oct. 25, 1917, the son of John O. and Evelyn L. Poole Bates. Walter attended school in Greene and Lewiston High School. On Oct. 25, 1941, in Lewiston, he married Esther M. Sprague; they were married for 68 wonderful years. He was owner and operator of the Bates Farm and also worked in the woods. Walter contracted with the town of Greene, where he was a school bus driver.

Walter was known for his love for his family and his passion for farming. He did whatever it took to care for not only his kids, but also at a young age he took care of his mom, dad and siblings. This took hours of hard labor in the barns, gardens and fields. He never complained, only said it was necessary to feed all the mouths in the family.

When recently asked if he had any regrets, he said it would only be that he wasn’t able to spend as much time with his family. Many have driven by his fields to see the man with his straw hat sitting on his tractor; he would lift his hand and wave. He loved his tractor, “Humpfrey;” they grew old together.

There has never been a challenge Walter didn’t meet. He did most of this in his 90s; taking care of his loving wife, Esther, until her last breath. At 92, he learned to make a mean apple pie. Many lessons can be learned through Walter’s life, but the biggest would be to take every opportunity to live life — not being fearful of a challenge, enjoy the moment, family is important and love heals many wounds. He was a member of the Greene Grange for 84 years; he also served as grand marshal.

He is survived by his three sons and their spouses, Wendell and Shelly Bates of Monmouth, Roland and Connie Bates of Seabring, Fla., and Harold and Sandy Bates of Greene; three daughters and their spouses, Glennis and Clifford Cayer of Eliot, Trenna and Wes Fulghum of Pensicola, Fla., and Carleen and Rich Foisy of Greene; four brothers, Russell and wife, Lois, Al and wife, Betty, Carl and wife, Marilyn, and Bernard and companion, Janice; and in Walter’s own words, “one helluva lot of grandchildren … too many to count.”

He was predeceased by his wife, Esther; his sister, Marion Blaisdell; and a granddaughter, Megan Baril, who died in January of this year.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.finleyfuneralhome.com.

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