Grace Christine (Kamp) Bates, was born April 26, 1917, in Amsterdam, Mont., to Holland-born parents, Elizabeth (Betsy) deRuig and John T. Kamp.
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She was born in the connecting apartment of her father's blacksmith shop. Since 1939 she lived in the house directly across the street from the blacksmith shop, where she remained until she was 91. She then moved to live with her son Ron and daughter-in-law Sherry just a mile up the road.
After her mother's death in 1931, Grace at age 13 kept house for her father, three brothers and two sisters. In April 1939 she married Avery V. Bates who was born 1 1/2 miles west of Amsterdam to Burch Reason and Floyd S. (Scollard) Bates. They continued farming some of the same land as their parents, and that land is now being farmed by the next two generations.
Grace is survived by her brothers, Tom Kamp of Manhattan and John (Martha) Kamp of Bozeman; sister-in-law, Corrine Kamp; three sons, Ron (Sherry) of Manhattan, Virgil (Louise) of Anceney and Gary of Livingston; as well as six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, eight great-great grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.
Grace was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Elizabeth (Jack) Byrd and Gertrude Jones; her brother, Fred Kamp; sister-in-law, Fenna Kamp; and her infant son, David.
Grace and Avery were long-time members of the Grace Bible Church in Bozeman Montana.
From 1967 to 1974 Grace served on the county and state Comprehensive Health Planning councils (organized and set up Montana's first "County Council on Aging"). She was an active member of the Federated Woman's Club and the League of Women Voters. In 1977 she chaired the committee that rewrote the "Gallatin County Government" booklet. In 1977 she helped organize the Gallatin County Historical Society and served on the board as president for six years. She was instrumental in converting the 1911 Gallatin County jail into a County Pioneer Museum (1980). She promoted, organized and coordinated the Lewis and Clark Pageant, a 1 1/2-hour outdoor-drama with a cast of 150 held at the Missouri River Headwaters State Park before approximately 2,500 people (1980, 1981).
Grace was the precinct committeewoman from 1956 to 1978, Gallatin County Central Committee vice chairman in 1958, and Montana Central Committee vice chairman 1958-1960. She served as president of Gallatin County Women's Club from 1965-1970. Grace was elected in 1971 as a Constitutional Convention delegate from Gallatin and Park counties. She served on the Legislative Committee. The constitution was passed (ratified) and became a role model for many other states. She attended the Constitutional Reunion conventions for the next 40 years. Grace served on a Gallatin County Historical Society committee that created 45 historical site signs, which were erected and displayed throughout Gallatin County. She wrote a booklet describing the signs and giving the exact locations for each.
Grace and Avery traveled extensively in Montana and western Canada. She visited Yellowstone National Park at least once in every year from age 10 until age 93. She would tell us of her trip on the "Going to the Sun Highway" and the nine-hour trip over the Skalkaho Pass in the 1930s. In 1975 she wrote "We drove the Alcan--Alaska and Back in Three Weeks" after a trip to Alaska. Grace and Avery went on a 1977 farm tour to New Zealand and Australia. Extra time was taken in Australia to visit her sister Elizabeth and Jack Byrd and family. The following year they visited six European countries, including the land of her forefathers (Netherlands) where they visited relatives.
Besides travel, Grace spent a lot of time reading, researching and writing about area history.
Three years of midnight oil went into Grace's 1985 book, "Gallatin County Places and Things."
Her life was devoted to God, family, country and community. It was her wish that you give to
Visitation will be Friday, Dec. 28, at Dahl Funeral Chapel from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., the family will be present to greet friends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Private family burial at Meadowview Cemetery on Saturday morning. A Celebration of Grace's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Grace Bible Church in Bozeman.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 28, 2012