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Hixson Brothers - Pineville
2701 Military Highway
Pineville, LA 71360
318-640-1678
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Mary Jo Gates

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Mary Jo Gates Obituary
Mary Jo Gates

Zwolle - A funeral service celebrating the life of Mary Jo Gates will be held Monday, April 15, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., in the Chapel of Hixson Brothers, Pineville, with The Reverend Nathan Martin officiating. Interment will follow in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pollock.

Visitation will be observed at the funeral home on Sunday, April 14, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and resume on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

Mrs. Gates, 85, of Zwolle, passed from this life on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital.

Mary Jo was a member of Aimwell Baptist Church, Zwolle.

Mary Gates, Mother of six boys by birth, as well as Momma to countless-others by her love and embrace. Although Texan by origin, she adopted Louisiana as home to develop her craft as a young photographer. During a photo shoot, she met her eventual lifelong husband, partner in life, and co-owner of Ray's Appliance & A/C Inc. Together they endured the successes and trials of small business over 35 years. She radiated a passion to sponsor and promote Louisiana Sweet 16 Girls High School Basketball. As a long-serving Chamber of Commerce "Red Coat", she faithfully served the community through small business promotion and celebration. In the late 1970s Mary tossed a curve to the local Pineville Dixie Boys Baseball league coaching-community by becoming the first-ever Dixie Boys female coach. Coach Gates, AKA "Maw-Gates" looked for opportunities to demonstrate acceptance and worth to a number of young players who may not have "fit the mold." In elegance, befitting her social graces, she often stepped out in southern charms and styles, sharing "high tea" with her fellow "Red Hatters" through local gatherings during her retirement years. When not devouring her next book or crossword puzzle, or tending to her frequent hummingbird guests, Mary could be found "perch-jerking" or at-the-least "drowning a few crickets" as she passed a sunny day at her Shangri-La on Toledo Bend lake. When you shared space and life with Mary Jo Gates, it was all too easy to be engulfed by her natural charm, genuine personal touch, or perhaps her Cherokee "gentle persuasion"—should one press the limits of her good graces. Mother never met a stranger, and when she touched your hand or gently cupped your face and softly peered into your soul, you know you were loved with grace and genuineness. You moved the hearts of many people across your 85 years. On April 11, our Savior declared the gates of heaven be opened…it was time for rejoicing as His daughter was coming in! We love and miss you Momma and we cherish the thought of strolling "In the Garden" with you and Jesus.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alton Ray Gates; son, Jimmy Gates; her parents, Clifford and Fern Wells Stephenson and her brother, Steve Stephenson.

Mrs. Gates is survived by her sons, Ray Waters and wife, Sonya, Roger Waters and wife, Lydia, Tim Gates and wife, Rhonda, Scott Gates, and Kevin Gates and wife, Patty; sisters, Jeanie Beggs and husband, Jim and Karen McGuire and husband, Ken; grandchildren, Carrie (Greg), Jennifer (Frank), Jessie (Michael), Mandi, Amy (Chad), Autumn (Skyler), Lauren, David, James, Briar, Beth (Cade), Justin (Susie), and Kristy; great grandchildren, Cole, Luke, Jack, Emily, Addilynn, Connor, Micaela, Frank, Jr., Austin, Peyton, Leena, Blake, Camryn, Callen, Lilly, Preston, Harper, Paxton and Porter, and numerous other family members and friends.

Pallbearers honored to serve will be David Gates, Justin Gates, James Gates, Briar Gates, Rick Gates, Randall Peart. Honorary pallbearers will be Kevin Sweeney, Tony Walker and Hank Coutee.

To extend online condolences to the Gates family, please visit us at www.hixsonbrothers.com.
Published in The Town Talk on Apr. 14, 2019
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