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Lansing, MI 48917
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Dorothy Gates

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Dorothy Gates Obituary
Dorothy (Brown) Gates


Dorothy was born September 8, 1924 in Clinton County, Michigan, the second child and first daughter of Vere and Maybelle (Risley) Brown and left this earth into everlasting life on Friday, August 22, 2014.   She was the namesake of her father's sister, who had passed on at a young age.  While still at the tender age of seven herself, Dorothy lost her father due to severe burns received while tending the family's pot-bellied stove, the only source of heat in the winter month of March 1932.

Dorothy went to various one-room schools throughout Clinton County in her early years, then began high school in Elsie and graduated in 1941 from Rodney B. Wilson High School in St. Johns.   She began life in the workforce as a telephone operator for the phone company in St. Johns, eventually moving to Lansing and hiring in at Michigan Bell Telephone Company.  Dorothy made an enormous amount of forever friends over her 37 years there, many of whom she remained in touch with until her memories and activities were erased by Alzheimers.

Dorothy met the love of her life, Edward Gates, on an "arranged" date cooked up by mutual acquaintances and were wed at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on June 10, 1950.  In a twelve year span they produced six children, while both continued working.  For many years they were "passing ships" as Edward worked days at Oldsmobile and Dorothy continued with evenings at the phone company, both finally retiring in 1982.  She was most proud of having served her entire tenure with an original Bell Telephone Company, and that she was seated at the switchboard when the end of World War II was announced.   She always said it "lit up like a Christmas tree!"

Following retirement, Edward and Dorothy were able to do some traveling with others in their circle of friends.  Being big MSU Spartan fans, they held season football tickets for many years and were in Pasadena to see the Spartans win the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1988.  They both enjoyed bowling and golf, and they took advantage of the ability to travel and explore various golf courses throughout Michigan and elsewhere until Edward's passing in 2006.

In addition to her father and husband, Dorothy was also preceded in death by her mother, stepfather Harry Beery, brother Russell Brown, sisters Lillian Searles and Lucille Davis, brothers-in-law Willard Searles, Luther Cleland, Edward Davis, Ralph Osmer, Chuck Adams, and Francis Gates, sisters-in law Dorothy Adams, Ruth Osmer, Grace Gates, nephews Ronald Fitch, William Searles, Randy Searles, Sam Davis and Mike Osmer, nieces Debbie Brzak and Betty Lou Brown, as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

She is survived by her children, Gary (Bonnie) Gates, Sue (Bob) Howell, Bruce (Maudie) Gates, Carol (Mike) Neumann, Brent (Colleen) Gates, and Nancy Shea (Bill Hanford); 16 grandchildren, Jim (Kathy) Smith, Tiffany (Phil) Finkle, Nikki Gates, Jason Gates, Robyn (Adam) Stout, Joanne (Sam) Shaw, Stephanie (Joey) Guess, Matthew Gates, Bruce E. (Kandra) Gates; Brandy Gates (Jason Ducharme), Nate Gates, Michael E. (Alicia) Neumann, Taylor Neumann, Shane (Alyson) Gates, Leah Mancuso, Cassie Gates, and Jordan Shea; 15 great grandchildren:  Cole, Parker, Ronin, Kaitlin, Payton, Emilee, Sam, Max, Tyler, Aubrey, Addison, Nevaeh, Lincoln, Barrett, and Madison; and two great great grandchildren:  Madison and Breelynn.  Also surviving her are two sisters, Isabelle Cleland and Donna (Ed) Preston, sister-in-law Shirley Gates, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation services will be Monday, August 25, 2014, from 2-4 and 6-8, with the Rosary and liturgy services beginning at 7:00 pm at the Palmer Bush Family Funeral Homes Delta Chapel. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, at St. Gerard Parish Church, Fr. John Klein as celebrant.  The family will continue viewing at the church from 10:00 until the time of services. Interment will be at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.   Arrangements are by the Palmer Bush Funeral Home Delta Chapel.

The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the caregiving staff at Grandhaven Assisted Living Center, the nursing and palliative care staff at Sparrow Hospital, and especially the staff at Eaton Community Palliative Care for all their thoughtful and comforting services provided both to our Beloved Mother and to all of us her children.

The family asks that those wishing to make donations in lieu of flowers please make them to Eaton Community Palliative Care or the Great Lakes Chapter.  Envelopes will be available at the funeral home and the church.  Friends may sign the online guestbook at


Published in Lansing State Journal on Aug. 25, 2014
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