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Hugh Stimson Cates

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Hugh Stimson Cates Obituary
Hugh Stimson Cates

Hugh Stimson Cates, age 71, passed away on February 5th, 2014 after a valiant struggle with congestive heart disease complicated by diabetes. Hugh was born on May 15th, 1942 in Los Angeles. He was raised in Pasadena and is the second son of Dr. Horace Bicknell Cates and Louise Stimson Cates. Hugh is survived by his siblings: older brother Horace Bicknell Cates, Jr., and younger sisters - Daphne Alison Cates and Julia Adrianne Cates. He also leaves behind his three nephews Frederick Alexander Ware, Matthew Stimson Ware, and Spencer Thomas Cates, sons of Julia Cates and Frederick Ware.

Hugh attended the Arroyo Seco Elementary School in Pasadena. He spent his middle and high school years at boarding schools in Santa Ynez Valley: The Midland Boys School, and the Dunn School in Los Olivos where he graduated with an award in History. Hugh had a startling memory for historical dates and events. All of his life he entertained himself by reading books on history, astronomy, scientific discoveries, and The Bible and typing up notes using his trusty manual Royal Typewriter.

Attending a rugged rural boarding school during the late 1950's in the central coast influenced his life direction and helped to shape his character. When he completed his schooling, he returned to the central coast and lived for many years in Santa Maria.

Hugh was a simple man who left a lasting impression on all who met him. He was always in good cheer and loved to crack a joke when he was in company. Hugh loved a good meal and was a large man who found that Bib Overalls solved the problem of ill-fitting pants with mis- buttoned shirts that never stayed tucked in. Hugh was aware of his appearance and frequently referred to himself as Red Skelton's lovable character, the carefree hobo, Clem Kadiddlehopper.

Throughout his life, Hugh was able to navigate without a car, a cell phone, credit card, or computer. He never owned a home. Instead, he was content to live simply in board and care facilities. Hugh was a frequent visitor to his local bank, checking on his bank balance and liked to visit all the tellers. Everyone knew him by name and thought of him as a colorful character. He paid all his bills by check and cash.

When Hugh was younger, his preferred modes of transportation were his bike and local public transportation - the city bus. He once rode his bike from Pasadena to Sacramento to interview for a warehouse position. He didn't get the job, so he rode his bike back down along the coastline until he returned to Pasadena. He told us all later that the trip was the adventure of a lifetime. When Hugh lived in Pasadena, his family and friends often referred to him as a moveable landmark, frequently being sighted at local bus stops. Wherever Hugh resided, he was able to get himself to wherever he needed or wanted to go.

Hugh's gifts to his family and friends are his unique way of looking at the world and letting us all know that he was lucky enough to be living "the life of Riley." He showed us how one can live simply and comfortably and his good cheer made everyone he met approachable. Family and friends will greatly miss Hugh's whimsical sense of humor and his comments on life's folly.

On February 11th the family of Hugh Stimson Cates gathered for an intimate burial service held at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena.
Published in Pasadena Star-News from Feb. 22 to Feb. 24, 2014
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