Mr. Cates passed away on Thursday at his home in Hillsborough, NC, surrounded by his family. He was the son of the late Marshal L. Cates, Sr. and Bera Dunn Cates. He was proceeded in death by his wife of 60 years, Margaret Rountree Cates.
Mr. Cates graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1941. Mr. Cates ran an Esso station in downtown Hillsborough, and then, along with his brothers, operated Cates Oil Company. He was a member of Hillsborough United Methodist Church, Eagle Lodge No. 19, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Central Carolina Bank. Mr. Cates was a longtime member of the Hillsboro Fire Department and was instrumental, along with others, in the formation of the Orange County Rural Fire Departments. He served with the fire department for 60 years in different capacities.
He enjoyed antique cars, his not-so-secret honey bun habit, and his family very much. With the late Marion Clark, Mr. Cates restored the Town’s first fire truck, a red 1937 Chevrolet, which often appears in local parades. Despite "retiring” from the oil business, Mr. Cates enjoyed keeping regular office hours at Cates Energy in Hillsborough.
Surviving are two daughters, Suzanne C. Reynolds (Claude) of Wilson, NC and Faye C. Williams (David) of Boone, NC; one son, James R. Cates (Pam) of Hillsborough, NC; five grandchildren, Marilee R. Williford (Tim) of Wilson, NC , Christy C. Daniel (David) of Hillsborough, NC, Wesley B. Williams (Suzanne) of Charlotte, NC, Chandler Allen Morris Reynolds (Rachel) of Raleigh, NC, Karen D. Williams of Washington, DC; eight great-grandchildren, Claire and Ian Dixon of Wilson, Blake and Chandley Daniel of Hillsborough, Samantha and Devon Williams of Charlotte, Ava Grace and Bennett Reynolds; three step great-grandchildren Jackson Williford, Zaddock Williford, and Thorne Williford; two sister-in-laws Virginia Cates of Hillsborough and Betty Rountree of Raleigh; aunt Pauline Clayton; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was also proceeded in death by his brothers Marshal L. Cates, Jr., G. Madison Cates, Marvin W. Cates and C. Truett Cates.
The family appreciates the assistance of his many caregivers, especially C. W. Boyette, June Cole, Terri Griffith, LeeVonda Locklear, Glenda Collins, Orange Rural Fire Department and Hospice of Alamance-Caswell.
A celebration of life will be held at Hillsborough United Methodist Church on Monday, Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. Visitation will be on Sunday, Sept. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Walker’s Funeral Home in Hillsborough. Visitors are also welcome to his home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to (1) Hillsborough Firefighters Association, PO Box 1511, Hillsborough 27278; (2) HUMC Scholarship Fund, Hillsborough United Methodist Church, 130 W. Tryon, Hillsborough, NC 27278; or (3) Hospice of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.