OBITUARY: Thomas C. Bates


Mr. Thomas C. Bates, age 77 of Lebanon, Tennessee and formerly of Albany, Georgia, passed away on May 5, 2023 at his home.

Born in Albany, Georgia September 1, 1945, he was the son of the late Robert and Bennie Calhoun Bates Buechel.

Thomas graduated from Albany High School and enlisted in the United States Navy where he served his country during the Vietnam War. He learned his trade in the Navy, working on medical equipment, and became employed by General Electric as a service manager for GE Medical Systems. Mr. Bates was a member of the Episcopal Church.

He married the love of his life, Mrs. Ruth “Binnie” Clyatt Bates, on June 26, 1970 and together shared many wonderful life experiences during their nearly 53 years of marriage.

In addition to his wife, Thomas leaves behind three children; Susan Walls of Lindale, TX, John Thomas (Liza) Bates of Lebanon, TN, and Melissa Bates of St. Cloud, MN – grandchildren; Cody, Amber, and Lindsay Walls of Lindale, TX – great-granddaughter; Amarah Reyna Land – sister; Phoebe Ford Snow of Davis, CA.

Mr. Bates was an avid outdoorsman, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his wife and family during their many adventures to various National Parks and recreation areas. He and Mrs. Binnie loved to go fishing. Vast are the memories from the fishing trips to Clark’s Hill Lake in South Carolina or camping trips to the Great Smokey Mountains.

Perhaps his greatest joy and most prized accomplishment are his three children. Tales of “dad” going the extra mile to make sure they had everything they asked for at Christmas and birthdays will live on forever in their memory. He and Mrs. Binnie loved to travel and visited more places than could be listed. From Sea World to Busch Gardens, the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park, all were made memorable by being together with his family.

Thomas and Binnie were actually present on October 1, 1971 for the grand opening of the new Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and just a year later, took their young daughter Susan to see the sights of the Magic Kingdom. Thomas had many notable sayings, and it didn’t matter how brief or how long the journey may have been, he was always known for remarking that it took “an hour and a half”.

From making sure his son John had the latest video games, to taking his other daughter Melissa on many “daddy daughter dates to the five star local Waffle House”, Thomas did it all out of his love for his family.

Due to his declining health in recent years, he became more of a “home body” and enjoyed spending time at home with Mrs. Binnie. Susan remarked, “We had a very rare childhood…Not many people had parents as good as ours…”

Though he may be gone from this earth, his legacy lives on and the memories will be cherished for ages to come by those that remain to grieve his passing. So in the words of Thomas C. Bates, until we are once again reunited, “Y’all have a large time”!

A private memorial service will be conducted by his family.

LIGON & BOBO FUNERAL HOME, in charge of arrangements (615) 444-2142.


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