The Rev. Gordon S. Bates

The Rev. Gordon S. Bates

Passed on Thursday, 20 January 2022
The Rev. Gordon S. Bates of Cromwell, CT passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 20, 2022.  A loving husband, father and grandfather, Gordon will be forever missed by his devoted wife Wanda; four daughters, Cynthia and husband Jonathan Russell, Susan and husband Andrew Schlotterbeck, Karen and husband Bryan Pritchett, Linda and husband Shawn Kelly; and his six adored grandchildren, Emma and Samuel Russell, Elizabeth and Sabrina Pritchett and Ethan and Paige Rosa. 

Born in Yonkers, NY he was the son of the late Samuel and Maude Bates. He was a graduate of Yonkers High School and Trinity College in Hartford. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Hartford Seminary. Ordained in 1959 in his home church (Dayspring Presbyterian) of Yonkers, he served as Assistant Minister at the Second Presbyterian Church in Wilkinsburg, PA and in CT as Organizing Pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church serving families east of the CT River. He was a member of the staff as Minister-at-Large at South Congregational Church, East Hartford as well as joining the CT Prison Association (now Community Partners in Action) as Program Director of Volunteer Services. In 1980 he became the Executive Director of the CPA. He retired from this position in 1997.

He served for 7 years as the Associate Conference Minister for Justice/Witness Ministries for the Historic Connecticut Conference UCC. His last 10 years of ministry was serving as Minister of Visitation for First Congregational Church, UCC in Glastonbury, his beloved home church for 40 years.

In 2012, Gordon and Wanda moved to Covenant Living of Cromwell, where Gordon served as president of the Resident Council, on the Spiritual Life Committee, and contributed in so many ways with worship, music and Current Events leadership.  After many years of research, in 2017 his book covering the history of Criminal Justice in CT was published: The Connecticut Prison Association and the Search for Reformatory Justice.

Gordon was a wise man whose sense of humor, curiosity, openness to new ideas, and passion for the environment, science, philosophy and justice issues burned bright until the end. He was also truly a pastor and a friend, a man whose ability to listen, empathize, lift up and care for others touched and enriched the lives of so many people. Gordon saw the value and the good in every person he met. He embraced life, both as a leader and as a quiet man who loved reading, conversation, singing, the outdoors, technology, and anything involving his children and grandchildren.

The family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff serving on the 4th floor of Pilgrim Manor, Covenant Living of Cromwell, for their compassionate caring during Gordon's last weeks. Due to the current public health situation, a celebration of Gordon's life will be held at a later date when it is safe to gather. Donations in Gordon's memory may be made to the Gordon S. Bates Scholarship Fund, Community Partners in Action, 110 Bartholomew Avenue, Suite 3010, Hartford, CT 06106. 

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