Patricia Bates

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Patricia "Pat" Lee Estill Bates

Patricia "Pat" Lee Estill Bates, 92, passed away on Saturday, October 14, 2017. She was born on September 9, 1925 in Tulsa, OK, to Paul Errett Estill and Opal E. Estill. She received an associate's degree from Gulf Park College, Gulf Port, Mississippi and a BFA in studio art from Oklahoma University. Pat was an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta and helped start a local chapter at UNM.

In 1948, she moved to New Mexico with her new husband, William "Bill" Colcord Bates, who later founded and ran Bates Lumber Company. Pat studied art with Kenneth Adams, Clinton Adams, Raymond Johnson, Herb Goldman, Robert Ellis and other well known local artists at UNM, where she earned a Master's Degree in Studio Art. Although she was an active portraitist early in her career, she later primarily painted still lifes and abstracts. Pat was an exceptional art instructor of portraiture, figurative, and abstract art out of her own studio. She was a founding organizer of the New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair and a cofounder of the Friends of Art, which raised funds for the UNM Art Museum. Beyond her artistic activities, Pat was also active in the Junior League of Albuquerque for 10 years, participating in a variety of activities including teaching art to underserved children. She was a leader for the Camp Fire Girls for 6 years. In the 1970s she and Bill started Pawidol, which for some years sold fine Native American jewelry throughout the Southwest. Each winter, the Bates escaped to their home on Harbour Island, Bahamas to allow Pat to collect shells and feast her eyes on turquoise waters and coral sands, colors that would later pervade much of her artistic production. A Francophile, Pat went to Paris to study art and French for 25 years.

An inveterate storyteller, her adoration of the animals in her and her children's lives was fodder for countless tales of plumbers frightened by found snakes draped around her neck, butter-eating pet spider monkeys, and the occasionally mischievous dog. Her numerous and not-always-entirely-credible stories were enriched by her wide travels with Bill in Europe, Africa, and Asia, an expression of her insatiable curiosity that she was eager to share with and pass on to all of her descendants.

Pat was preceded in death by her beloved husband, William "Bill" Colcord Bates, and a brother, Paul Estill. She is survived by her son, William "Bill" Colcord Bates, Jr., of Albuquerque, NM, and daughter, Patricia "Dolly" Lee Estill Bates Spragins, and son-in-law Pete, of Berkeley, CA; as well as her grandchildren, Peter Bates Spragins, Redwood City, CA and Elizabeth Lee Spragins, Lexington, VA.

A memorial service will be held at the Los Poblanos Cultural Center, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque NM 87107, on Friday November 17th at 5:30 pm

In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to the University of New Mexico Art Museum, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131.

Published in Albuquerque Journal from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15, 2017