My Mother, Patricia Alene Bates, passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 26th, 2019. She was 71 years old.
While the timing of her death was unexpected, her battles with health had gone to an all time high over the past year. Aside from her previous ailments (obesity, and a heart condition causing her to need a pacemaker), she developed Diverticulitis which caused a drastic change to her diet. Because of this, she was unmotivated to adjust to the changes and became weak and bedridden. At this time, both she and my Father were residing at a nursing home, due to the aftermath of a car running into their apartment and the health struggles that followed. While she wasn’t in severe pain physically, everything was taking a toll on her mentally. Depression took over her thoughts and because of that I assume she began to lose her will to live. As much as it pains us to lose her, I know she is no longer in pain.
Patty was born on January 16th, 1948 in Trenton, NJ to parents Mary, and Clarence Sr. where she resided for one year before the family moved to New Milford, CT. Shortly after settling in, Patty would be joined by the birth of two younger siblings: Sister Linda, and Brother Clarence Jr. in the small CT town that they would call home for many years. During that time, she would reside across the street from a handsome young man by the name of Charles Bates (aka Chaz or Charlie to his friends), whom she would often see outside working on cars. Over the years, a love would form between the two of them and in February 1969 the two would be wed in Bridgewater, CT, during one of the craziest blizzards the town had ever seen.
Twelve years later, on August 8th, 1981 their first and only child, Barbara (that’s me!), was born. While Chaz had 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl) from 2 previous marriages, they were thrilled that their attempts to have their own child succeeded and were very happy to welcome their new baby girl into their home. Although there were times when hardships fell on the family, their love and joy always kept them afloat.
It was the Spring of 1989 when tragedy struck the family and Chaz’s son Joey passed away at the age of 26. Little did we know that the tragic loss would become a blessing in disguise. To cope with the loss, the family began visiting the Loaves And Fishes Hospitality House, where many of Joey’s friends often came for a hot meal. In no time at all, we were welcomed by the founders of the organization, Biddy, and Sherri, and became volunteers. In a time of loss, my parents found comfort in helping care for others and earned the nicknames “Mom and Dad” as well as “Mr. And Mrs. Loaves And Fishes” from the many patrons of the soup kitchen and their volunteers/staff. Loaves and Fishes became their pride and joy and gave them a new purpose in life. As a family, we spent most of my childhood volunteering there.
On May 14th, 2005, the New Milford Rotary Club, along side Mayor Pat Murphy, had a ceremony on the Green and presented the New Milford Rotary Community Service Award to Patty & Charles Bates in recognition of Outstanding Community Service, especially for their work with Loaves And Fishes.
Over the past few years, age and health began to catch up with Patty and her interest in leaving her home for activities and volunteering dwindled. She began spending more and more time sitting in her chair or laying in bed, causing her body to begin to whither and weaken. Through State assistance, visiting nurses and aids became a weekly and then daily occurrence to assist with everyday chores for both her and Chaz. Whether it was depression or lack of motivation, her health seemed to get worse and worse. On November 14th, 2018 an elderly driver lost control of his vehicle, causing him to crash into the living room of my parent’s apartment. Luckily no one got hurt, but this was the start of the downhill battle for my Mom’s health. Being forced to leave her home in a weakened state, she had to push herself to do things she normally would refuse to do (such as walking up or down stairs). Whether it was the added physical activity or timing, her health decided to flare up in many ways. This lead to her making many visits (some longer than others) to both New Milford and Danbury hospitals, with stays at the nursing home in between. In the 3am hour on Saturday, October 26th, 2019 her heart finally gave up and she was no longer in pain. Granting her wishes, we arranged to have her body cremated.
At this time, a memorial service is still TBD but we hope to have plans figured out soon. We have set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to cover the expenses of her untimely death for those that would like to contribute and help out. Any remaining funds after covering the costs will be donated to Loaves and Fishes in her honor.
If you have any memories of my Mother that you would like to share, feel free to do so in the comments below. She may be gone but she will live on forever in our hearts.