Obituary: Helen Olive Bates — Scotland native, mother, grandmother of Darien residents
Helen Olive Bates died peacefully on Wednesday, Feb. 8. She was 82.
Mrs. Bates was born at Firknowe, her family home, in Peebles, Scotland on April 20, 1934 to Robert Scott and Helen Hogg Scott. Mrs. Bates attended Peebles High School and Galashiels Technical College to prepare for work in the woolen textile industry. Mrs. Bates met her future husband, Kenneth Bates, when she was a darner and he, a promising designer, at the Ballantyne Mills of Peebles. They were married in 1955 and came to America on the RMS Queen Mary, settling in Cresskill, New Jersey. After raising three daughters and a son, Mr. and Mrs. Bates moved to New York City and eventually retired to their farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They spent their lives together traveling, entertaining, laughing, singing, and enjoying the love and adoration of an ever-growing family.
Mrs. Bates showered her family with love, kindness, generosity and humble advice, offered as a guide to a life of happiness, rich with the values with which she herself was imbued as a child in the Scottish Borders.
While Mrs. Bates remembered life in wartime Scotland: gas masks at grade school; the drone of overhead planes; rationing and blackouts, she most often reminisced of a wonderful youth with her loving family; and childhood pals with whom she would while away the summer days, walking the hills; climbing castle ruins; swimming in the Tweed River; and going to the “pictures”, where salvaged jam jars were the price of admission.
After Kenneth’s passing in 2010 and 55 years of marriage, such fond memories of the past slowly became the only vivid ones, leaving Mrs. Bates with a longing to go home. It is with bittersweet comfort her family feels she has.
Mrs. Bates is survived by her daughters, Leslie Rottner and Cathryn Weiss of Darien; Barbara Bates Conroy of Rowayton; son, Robert Bates of Darien; grandchildren Andrew, Cameron, and Christian Rottner, Kenneth and Robert Weiss, Wilson, Henry and Grace Conroy, Olivia and Catherine Bates; great-grandsons Haven and Henry Rottner. Mrs. Bates is predeceased by her loving husband, Kenneth Clark Bates; sister, Catherine Steele Scott; brother, William Turnbull Scott; and grandsons, Harrison and Jackson Conroy.
A service to celebrate Mrs. Bates’ remarkable life will be held at Talmadge Hill Community Church, 870 Hollow Tree Ridge Road, Darien at 12 p.m. on April 15. Reception to follow.
A private family interment will be held at Lakeview Cemetery in New Canaan.
— by The Darien Times