Jean (Whitney) BatesOctober 18, 1929 ~ August 3, 2017 (age 87)
Newport, NH: Jean Whitney Bates, 87, passed away peacefully on August 3, 2017 at Woodlawn Care Center in Newport, NH. Jean was born October 18, 1929 in White River Junction, VT and raised in Lebanon, NH, the daughter of Richard and Elsie (Coutermarsh) Whitney. She attended Sacred Heart Elementary School, and graduated from Lebanon High School in the Class of 1947. After graduation, she attended the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital School of Nursing for one year, before making a decision to marry and raise a family instead of pursuing a nursing career.
The devotion to family that defined Jean’s life was undoubtedly influenced by the unexpected death of her father from a medical complication when she was only 2 years old. As an only child whose mother never remarried, Jean developed a strong appreciation and desire for family relationships. During her formative years, she was fortunate to have a large and extremely supportive extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom she remained fondly connected throughout their lives.
In 1950, Jean married her LHS classmate, Robert Bates. After briefly residing in Lebanon, NH, and later Rutland, VT, Jean and Bob moved to Newport, NH, making Newport the home where they would raise a family of six children and make new relationships that became cherished lifelong friendships.
Jean spent a short time during those early married years working first as a telephone operator, and later as a bookkeeper for the Bates & DeMayo Service Station. However, Jean’s true devotion and primary daily activity was nurturing her children and running a household. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry for a family of eight can be a daunting full-time job, but somehow Jean always found time for hugs and encouraging words, supervising homework, bandaging scrapes and soothing hurt feelings, summertime excursions to Dewey Beach, and teaching manners and compassion. No one was better at stretching a tight household budget, or more supportive of her kids’ activities. She was entirely selfless, always putting others’ needs ahead of her own.
In later years, as her children grew out of the household, Jean continued to assist others by becoming a Title I Reading Aide in local elementary schools (Towle, and Goshen-Lempster). She so enjoyed helping her students become successful and lifelong readers. She later expanded upon that role by tutoring adults in her home who had never learned to read.
Jean was an avid supporter of Newport athletes and sports teams, and could often be found in the stands or on the sidelines cheering them on, whether her own family was involved or not. She was a big fan of the Boston Celtics and the Boston Red Sox. For a time, Jean developed a passion for distance running, even winning a few race medals in her age group. She also loved to bake – the family favorites were rice krispie squares and six-layer brownies, both from recipes handed down by her mother.
After a divorce in 1998, and retirement from her reading aide position, Jean’s life became even more focused on her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed nothing more in life than attending their plays and concerts, cheering at their sporting events, or engaging them in board games. Family birthday and holiday celebrations, when she could be with everyone at once, were her most special occasions.
Jean’s Catholic faith was an important factor in her life, and she was a member of St Patrick’s Church from the time she moved to Newport until her death.
Jean was predeceased by her parents, and by her son Bill. She is survived by son Dick (Maura) Bates of Enfield, NH; daughter Ann (Corey) Stillson of Hartford, VT; son Jim (Michele) Bates of Sunapee, NH; son Tim (Cathy) Bates of Newport, NH; son Bob (Becky) Bates of Newport, NH; daughter-in-law (Bill’s wife) Kathy Bates of Somersworth, NH; plus 15 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
The family will be forever grateful to the staff of Woodlawn Care Center for the exemplary care and support they provide, but especially for the kindness and compassion that accompanies their services on a daily basis.
There will be no calling hours. A funeral mass with reception following to celebrate Jean’s life will be held at St Patrick’s Church in Newport, NH on Monday, August 21 at 11:00 AM. Interment will be at the Glenwood Cemetery, in Lebanon, NH, next to Bill, in a private ceremony at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be considered to the Bill Bates Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Richard Bates, 37 Birch Lane, Enfield, NH 03748, or to the Richards Free Library 58 North Main Street, Newport, NH 03773.