Dad Photo
Joel Gordon Bates
  • 80 years old
  • Date of birth: Aug 12, 1934
  • Date of passing: Mar 26, 2015
Let the memory of Joel be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Joel Bates, 80, born on August 12, 1934 and passed away on March 26, 2015. We will remember him forever.

Funeral Service at John Wesley United Methodist Church, Wednesday, April 1st, @ 2 pm. John Wesley United Methodist Church, 5830 Bermuda Dunes Drive. Houston, TX  77069

Joel Gordon Bates was born August 12th, 1934, in Warsaw, Indiana, to proud parents, Eleanor and Lionel. His parents were very young, and the family lived with Joel's grandparents for his first five years before moving to Chicago. He and his sister, Janice (10 years his junior), grew up in Chicago where their father was a printer. While Joel was in high school, the family returned to northern Indiana to help Joel's grandparents with their restaurant. He played high school basketball in Syracuse, where they lived on a lake.
Joel studied civil engineering at Purdue University earning his Bachelor of Science degree. He was a proud member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and remained a Boilermaker all his days. After graduation, he was a reserve officer in the U.S. Army leaving at the rank of Captain. In 1956, Joel joined Esso and worked at the Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey.
It was at a wedding for one of his fraternity brothers that he met Dee, a young school teacher from Pennsylvania. It didn't take long for Joel and Dee to fall in love and marry. Esso soon sent them to business school at Cornell University where they both earned Joel's MBA. After their twin boys arrived, they settled in Pittsburgh close to Dee's family. There Joel joined Westinghouse where he worked in business development and marketing and eventually got involved in "sky buses."
In 1970, he moved the family to Texas to help start a company which engineered transit systems (including the train system at the Atlanta Airport). He moved onto Gerald D. Hines Interests and was a vice-president at Brown & Root, Hawker Siddeley and Raymond International.
Late in his career he began work at Mobil Power which eventually became part of ExxonMobil. In 2002 he retired, ending his career coincidentally with the company he started with 45 years earlier.
His career took him all over the world, but he remained true to his Midwestern values. When he gave his word, he kept it. Joel and Dee remained in Houston for their retirement, but traveled a lot, especially enjoying Spain and the UK. And, of course, he had more time for golf. He was also devoted to his parents in their last years.
A member of John Wesley United Methodist Church, Joel enjoyed singing in the choir, Sunday School, and helping church members with Job Search Support.
He had a strong love for Scouting. As an Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster, he proudly lived Scouting's principles. He was so by the book, the Scouts nicknamed him "G.I. Joel."
Summers were about family vacations at "the lake" in Indiana. That meant boating, grilling spare ribs, and golf. Golf was one of Joel's passions. He was a long-time member at Champions Golf Club and played with his long-time golf friends. He was devoted to his family - showing support and love and an example of how to live an honorable life.
On March 26, 2015, Joel left us to be with God. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lionel and Eleanor. He's survived by his loving wife, Dee; his son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Ute Bates; his son, Colin Bates; his daughter and son-in-law, Allison and Paul Free; his grandsons, John, Matthew, Philip, and Tim Bates; his sister, Janice Knaus, and his nephew, Kevin Knaus.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Gary Gibson on 26th March 2017

"Still miss my golfing and choir friend.  I think of him every now and then when I hit one straight or sing well, which he always did.  Never forget him!"

This tribute was added by Grant Sovereign on 7th April 2015

"I worked with Joel when I was about to lose my job at Shell about 7 years ago - I got permission to start working with outplacement services early, and I had heard about JWUMC's job search program, and started coming to the weekly meetings there.  

Joel took me through the whole program, and was a reassuring presence during the whole process.  His life experiences, sense of humor and calm demeanor made a large difference to me during a very stressful time of my life (one kid in college, one two years away).  

As it turned out, I was able to find another job at Shell, and I am still there now getting near retirement - but working with Joel made all the difference in the world.    We need more Joel Bates in the world - he will be missed."

This tribute was added by elaine jones on 31st March 2015

"I am so very sorry that I can't be in Texas to share this sad event with all of you.  Know that my heart and prayers are with you all.  

I remember when I went to visit years ago and was petrified of driving all those crazy lanes.  It is any wonder that your dad permitted me to drive you kids to the place where they placed that huge snake around your necks (Greg and Colin).  I also remember eating at your house in Fox Chapel and my mom telling your dad to redo her steak and make it well done.  He apologized,but said he would not take the blame for "killing it" by making it anyway but rare.

Again, my sincere sympathy.


Aunt Elaine"

This tribute was added by Edward Kay on 29th March 2015

"I wish I had spent more time in Joel's company, but the little time we were together made a large impression!  My deepest sympathies to his family & friends!
Ed Kay"

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This memorial is administered by:

Allison Free


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