Mary Beth (Cox) Bates, of Mesa, AZ, was born July 22, 1943 to Roy Marvin and Velma Chasarho (Garrett) Cox, both from Texas, in Fort Benning, Chattahoochee County, GA, as a Georgia Peach. She soon became a full-fledged Texan, traveling back to Texas with her parents after WWII. They settled in Lubbock, where Beth graduated from Monterey High School, then Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1966. She also earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from Eastern New Mexico University.
While she was helping her dad roof their house on July 4, 1966, she met her future husband, A3C Clifford R. (Pete) Bates. As she has often said, she “walked across the room, took his hand and never turned loose.” They were married in a small Baptist church in Lubbock a few days later on August 13, 1966.
While raising two beautiful children, she also worked full time. She gave up her career to allow her husband to follow his, where he served in the US Air Force for 30 years. However, she accomplished much: she served as a woman’s advocate and activist, helped to develop the Portales Community Center, and established a spouse abuse shelter as well.
They moved to Okinawa, Japan, in January of 1980, where she developed the model for and set up the first Military Family Support Center. Working with Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney (AF), Maj. Gen. John Phillips (Marines) and a female Marine officer, they made it work and the center is now established throughout all military branches. She also set up a spouse abuse shelter on Kadena Air Base that, to our knowledge, was the first on a military base. The family moved to Mesa, AZ, in July of 1983, where she worked as a psychologist and administrator for the Department of Juvenile Corrections.
Beth was also active in showing her beloved Welsh Terrier female, Just In Thyme (Moxie). Moxie won the Welsh and Terrier Groups at the Westminster Dog Show in 1999. But at home, she was just a loving pet and companion, sleeping next to Beth in bed.
She is survived by her husband of over 50 years, Clifford R. (Pete) Bates, CMSGT USAF Retired; her son, Ronald Wade Bates, and wife, Nikki; a grandson, Brian Bates, and wife Dani; a granddaughter, Lauren Bates; and their mother, Lori (Santoni) Bates. Also surviving is her daughter, Cara Lynn (Bates) Learman with husband Kevin, and her grandchildren, Rachel, Caleb, Nicholas, and Sarah Learman.
She also leaves behind her sisters, Marsha Owens, Paula McDermett, Aniece Zweig and husband, Scott, and her sisters-in-law, Bertie Stephens, Peggy Iry and husband Bill, Mollie Wells, and Shirley Bates.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 10, 2017, at 2:00 pm, at Horizon Funeral Care, 7510 E. Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85207. In lieu of flowers, donations to Parkinson’s research or Hospice of the Valley would be appreciated.