It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Judith Lee Bates, 92, at home in Columbia, S.C., on August 10, 2014, surrounded by her children, who adored her.
A beauty throughout her life, Judith was a talented painter, sculptor, and writer who was known for her irreverent sense of humor and fun, her integrity and strength of character, incredible courage, grace, and ultimately, her gentle ways. She loved her family, friends, parties, and international travel (the only time she would have a cigarette, according to her dear friend Moppett Judd). Judy was born in Coalinga, Calif., the younger daughter of Eula Mae Brantley and Levi Warnock. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. After college, Judy joined the Foreign Service and was posted to the U.S. Embassy in London, where she served as a secretary. During her years in London, Judy traveled often and one weekend evening at the Royal Winter Palace in Gstaad, when her date had momentarily returned to his room, was asked to dance by Prince Aly Khan. This had the effect of spoiling her date’s surprise marriage proposal planned for later that evening; a short story about the episode was later published in a magazine. Judy met her future husband, LeRoy E. Bates, M.D. of Charleston, S.C., at the London embassy and while waiting for him to finish his posting with the World Health Organization moved to Rome for several months and studied art. The couple was married in London by a last-minute special dispensation of the Archbishop of Canterbury the same day their ship was to sail for America. Because they were uncertain they would get permission to marry in time, they had registered for the trip under separate names; consequently Judy was placed in a cabin with three French nuns. In America, the couple moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Roy completed coursework for his Ph.D. and they began to build their family. In addition to Berkeley, the couple lived in Highland Park, Ill., after which they moved to Baltimore, where Roy became the administrator of the Union Memorial Hospital. Judy and Roy loved spending weekends with their six children cruising the inland waterway on their boat, The Gadabout, and spending weekends on The Gadabout on the Eastern Shore with their wonderful friends – weekends Judy very recently described as “mind-pounding fun.” In 1964, the family moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where they built a boat, The Sweet Forever. Judy became a member of the National League of American Pen Women and exhibited her paintings in local galleries. When the family moved to Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., in 1969, they towed The Sweet Forever east behind a troop carrier purchased for the occasion. In New York, Judy obtained a real estate license and sold homes in the community. Once the family moved to Columbia, S.C., in 1972, Judy, who had been a copywriter early in her career, started at SCETV as a writer, eventually becoming a producer. She retired from SCETV in 2001. She was a founding sponsor of Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia.
Judy is survived by her children Eve Barth; Cole Bates and his wife, Mechelle; and Ashley Bates, all of South Carolina; Abbe Bates; Leslie Bates and her husband, Terry Edwards, of New York; her grandson Judd Barth and great grandson Bryce Barth, of South Carolina. Recently, The Sweet Forever was lovingly restored by Judy’s former son-in-law, George Barth. Judy was predeceased by her daughter Robin Bates in 1980, and her husband in 1998 and her sister Moselle France McKay in 2010.
Judy’s passing leaves a great void for everyone who knew her and she will be deeply loved and missed always by her family and friends. A private service is planned and will be officiated by Mark S. Bredholt, D.Min.
Donations in honor of Judy may be made to Harvest Hope Food Bank at harvesthope.org or The Spoleto Festival at spoletousa.org.
A memorial message may be written to the family by visiting our website at www.jamesadyal.com.
ARRANGEMENTS BY JAMES A. DYAL FUNERAL HOME, 303 S. MAIN STREET, SUMMERVILLE, SC 29483 (843) 873-4040.