May 23, 1922 - April 24, 2018 William Bates, long-time weekly newspaper editor and publisher, died April 24, 2018. Bates wrote eloquently and humorously about Snohomish, WA, the town he loved, and as a member of the several boards and foundations, he served the town he loved. He was a writer, book publisher, mountaineer, gardener, marathoner, fly fisherman, occasional beekeeper, poet, mentor to many, forever curious, and kind. Bates was born on May 23, 1922 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Chester and Anne Bates. The Bates family moved to Seattle in the late 1920s where Bill attended Garfield High School and had the honor of being struck out by Fred Hutchinson on three straight fastballs. Bates entered the University of Washington in 1940 and after the outbreak of World War II joined the Army Air Corps; he was a bombardier. Bill returned to the UW in 1945, changed his major from forestry to journalism and was named the summer editor of The Daily. Embarking on a career in journalism, Bates moved to the Tri-Cities to take a job on the Tri-City Herald as a sports writer. He shared a desk with a society writer, Barbara Smith, and within a year they were married. Theirs was a 70-year love affair. In 1950 Bates, his wife and infant son, moved to Snohomish to take a position at the Snohomish Tribune. In 1956 when publisher Thomas Dobbs died, Bates, Willis Tucker, and Don Berry, bought the paper. During the next 15 years, Bill won numerous awards for his writing and photography and served as president of the WNPA (Washington Newspaper Publishers Association). In 1962 the State Department contacted Bates about a journalist exchange program. As a result, he traveled to Europe for a month and for several years hosted journalists from such far-flung places as Italy, Germany, Ecuador, and Nepal. In 1969 Bill and Ed Wise expanded the Tribune plant, added an off-set press, and The Snohomish Publishing Company was born. When he sold his interest in Snohomish Publishing in 1983, Bates took a breath and then founded Alpenbooks, which for a time was one of the largest wholesale outdoor book distributors in the country. Cloud Cap Press, his imprint, published the works of Everest climbers John Barry, Adrian Burgess, Reinhold Messner, and the British outdoor writer, Walt Unsworth. In retirement Bill Bates was never idle, serving on the Snohomish School Board, the planning commission, the Friends of Blackman Lake, and the Carnegie Foundation. He took up biking, and he cycled through Europe and the Northwest with Bob Shaw, Don Kusler, and Ralph Davis. He also tackled the mountain bike leg on his son's Sea-to-Ski team for several years, making his last ride at age 85. And he climbed mountains. Bill Bates explored the remote reaches of the North Cascades, reaching the summits of over 100 peaks in the North Cascades, including all five Washington volcanos. Bill and Barbara Bates' home was a welcoming place for people of all generations, from all parts of the world. To sit around the Bates' dining room or kitchen tables was to be treated to great stories, sublime puns and always laughter. In a quiet way Bill Bates left an indelible mark on the town of Snohomish, and in the hearts of so many people. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Anne Bates; and his sister, Betty Compton. Bill is survived by his wife of 69 years, Barbara; their four children, Malcolm (Carol), Stuart (Barbara), Andrew (David), Lizabeth Farrell (Mark); nine grandchildren, Rosalie Bates, Isabella Bates, Evan Bates (Amy), Sara Bates, Hannah Farrell, Katie Farrell, Joseph Farrell, Emmy Farrell, Kristen Farrell; and one great-grandchild, Redford Bates. Bill is survived by his sister, Peggy Crosgrove, and numerous nieces and nephews. A celebration of his life will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church, 913 2nd St., Snohomish on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 1:00 p.m., with a reception immediately following. Donations can be made in his name to St. John's and the Snohomish Education Foundation.
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Published in The Herald (Everett) on Apr. 29, 2018.