Jay Harrell Bates died Friday, July 22, 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona, at the tender age of 75.
Jay started his journey on April 21, 1936, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as the fourth and final child of Violet Simmons Bates and Jay Harrell Bates. He attended Idaho Falls High School where he played basketball on the Idaho Falls “Tigers” team that won the state basketball tournament for several years running. The 1953 team on which he played finished the season 26-0 and was honored in 2005 by the State of Idaho’s High School Activities Association as one of the Legends of the Game.
Jay attended Utah State University on a football and basketball scholarship, but decided after his freshman year to focus his talents on Aggie basketball, where he played four years. While attending Utah State, he graduated from the Army ROTC program. He was chosen as one of the top 15 Personalities on Campus four years running and in his senior year was elected Senior Class President and chosen as one of 12 students to serve in the honorary organization Alpha Sigma Nu on the motto “Outstanding in Every Way.”
Jay married his junior high, high school, and college sweetheart, Irene Lagos Bates, on June 24, 1956. Upon graduating from Utah State in 1958, Jay was stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and he went on to serve in the Army National Guard for several years, eventually reaching the rank of First Lieutenant. After leaving active service, he settled with Irene in Idaho Falls, where they started their family and Jay earned his PGA card as Assistant Golf Pro under George Orullian at Pinecrest Municipal Golf Course. In 1964, Jay and Irene purchased a grocery store in Idaho Falls called Jay’s Mini Mart. In 1967, they moved their family to Logan, Utah, and purchased Skanchy’s Market. Together, they ran Skanchy’s Market for over 32 years before selling it and retiring to Goodyear, Arizona.
Jay was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. He was an avid Aggie, and was active in the Big Blue Club before retiring to Goodyear. He loved the game of golf and was a member at the Logan Golf and Country Club for many years. Even after he was forced to give up golf for health reasons, he enjoyed the friendly interaction and banter with other golfers while serving as course marshal at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Goodyear. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and he cherished many loyal friends in Logan, Idaho Falls, and Goodyear.
Most of all, Jay, or G-Paw as he was known to his grandchildren, embodied many of those attributes that have gone missing in this world, including a wonderful sense of humor and compassion for all of the people with whom he interacted. It is a fitting tribute to Jay that he left this world in full possession of the qualities with which he was born: humility, respect for family and friends, and the capacity to love and care about people from all walks of life.
Jay is survived by a sister, Patti Bates Curnutt, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, his wife, Irene Lagos Bates, of Goodyear, Arizona, his sons, Jay Michael Bates (Leslie France) of Prescott, Arizona, Douglas Scott Bates (Patti Jessen) of Spanish Fork, Utah, and Christopher Kent Bates (Martha Ochoa) of Phoenix, Arizona, his son-in-law Todd Christensen of Logan, Utah, and eleven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother Violet Simmons Bates, father Jay Harrell Bates, brothers Kent Bates and Gene Bates, and his daughter Peggy Jo Bates Christensen.
Gravesite services will be held at Logan Cemetery on Friday, October 7, 2011. A memorial service will be held in Goodyear on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the Tuscany Falls Ballroom in Tuscany Falls. The family requests that you send donations in lieu of flowers to The Peggy Jo Bates Christensen Scholarship Fund, Utah State University Development Office, 1420 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah, 84322.