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U.S. VeteranTim Lost his battle with multiple myeloma on the evening of March 7, 2016, at his home in Joplin, Missouri.
Timothy Wayne Gates was born September 16, 1955, in Baltimore Maryland, the youngest son of Francis E. Gates Jr. and Coral-Louise Raymond. After his father died suddenly in 1959, the family lived in several locations across the country. He graduated from McDonald County MO High School in 1973, then served his country in the US Air Force from 1974-75, and graduated from Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri in 1977 with a degree in math.
Intending to continue his education, he moved to Iowa City, Iowa in 1977, and met Julie Connett in the fall of 1978. They married on July 21, 1979 in her hometown of Des Moines Iowa. They lived in Portland Oregon for the first year and a half of their marriage, then came back to Des Moines in early 1981. In 1982, they moved to San Saba, Texas, where they lived for the next 33 years. In 1995, Tim realized his dream of being a father when his son, David Wesley, was born.
Tim was in ardent supporter of the San Saba Armadillos Athletics program, and served as the team statistician, from 1987 through 2013. In 1985, he joined the US Postal Service as a temporary carrier, which became permanent in March 1986. It is estimated that through the course of his career as a mail carrier, he walked some 60,000 miles. He was loved by many of his patrons, and frequently received Christmas gifts and cards from the dogs on his route.
In February 2014, Tim began to notice he could not keep his pace as well has he had in the past. An x-ray showed that several of his vertebrae were beginning to compress. He continued to work his route until early April, but when time off from work did not seem to help his situation, he went back to the doctor, who ordered an MRI. When a full body x-ray was ordered as a follow-up, he began to prepare himself for the possibility of back surgery. But when Julie and Tim were called into the doctor on May 27, 2014, the doctor wrote two words on a Post-it note: multiple myeloma. These words changed Tim and Julie’s life.
From then on, life became a series of doctor appointments, hospitalizations and chemo treatments. Ultimately he was given a transplant of his own stem cells on October 14, 2014 at UT Southwestern hospital in Dallas. The transplant nearly succeeded in getting rid of the myeloma, But in the summer of 2015, it returned, shortly after Tim attempted to return to his job. It became obvious almost immediately that he would have to retire, so on September 30, 2015, he carried the mail for the last time.
On December 1, 2015, Tim and Julie left San Saba for the last time, for their new home in Joplin, Missouri. Initially, Tim seemed to be doing well on a new regimen of chemo, but in January, took a turn for the worse. Finally, He entered the arms of his Lord and Savior just after 11 PM on March 7, 2016.
Tim was a man of quiet but deep faith, and believed God would do what was best for him from the very beginning of his cancer journey. He loved all sports, the band Chicago, and traveling. He had high hopes's for more travel during retirement, but his condition would never let him go.
Left behind to honor and cherish his memory are his wife of 36 years, Julie, and son, David Wesley Gates, both of Joplin; his mother and sister, Coral Williams and Kathy Smith, both of Coweta, Oklahoma; his brother, Michael R. Gates of West Linn, Oregon; many nieces and nephews, and countless friends, along with his beloved pets, Jasmine the cat, and “grand puppy” Tarah Joy. He was preceded in death by his father, Francis E. Gates Jr; his brother, Patrick F. Gates; a niece, Becky Sawyer; and a nephew, Kelly Gates.
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016 at Parker Mortuary. The family will receive friends following the service.
The family requests that those attending the ceremony, if possible, where a burgundy ribbon, the color of multiple myeloma awareness. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or to your local place of worship.
Friday, March 11, 2016
1502 S. Joplin Ave
Joplin, Missouri 64804