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James Harrison Bates

SALISBURY — James Harrison Bates, 81, loving husband, beloved father, adoring grandfather and dynamic educator, passed away peacefully on Oct. 14, 2011. Always the optimist, Jim was a cheerful and steady presence for his family, showing the warmth and humor that characterized his life to the very end.Jim was born Sept. 11, 1930, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. A quintessential New Englander and gentleman farmer, Jim spent the majority of his life in the Connecticut countryside. He graduated from The Salisbury School in 1948 and attended Yale University, where he completed his degree in 1952. Following graduation from Yale, Jim enlisted in the United States Army (1952-1955), where he was stationed in occupied Germany as a first lieutenant. A devout patriot, Jim instilled the importance of loyalty and civic responsibility in his family. He married Janet Graves Bates on May 29, 1954. Married for more than 50 years, together they had four children, James Martin, Judith Elizabeth, Joanne Elizabeth and Jonathan Schafer.Jim was continually reinventing himself. Forever an educator, he spent 20 years of his professional career as a science and history teacher at The Salisbury School (1959-1965, 1980-1994). In the mid-1960s, Jim went to work for Yale University in their Alumni Relations Department (1965-1967). After five years (1967-1972) serving as the director of admissions, and later as dean of students, of Pine Manor Junior College, Jim returned to Yale in the summer of 1972 to head the newly formed Association of Yale Alumni (AYA). In 1976, he became the managing director of the Yale Alumni Fund, where he oversaw the largest campaign for the university at the time. In 1980, Jim and Janet moved back to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and he returned to The Salisbury School as the director of development, a position that he had created in 1963. However, Jim could not stay away from the classroom; returning to his first love, he taught Environmental Science and German history before retiring as senior master in 1994. True to form, Jim never truly retired. He became the vice president of development for Sharon Hospital (1994-1999) and continued to contribute to the lives of many.A staunch proponent of the value of education, Jim earned a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1958 and a Master of Science from Syracuse University in 1963. He served on the Board of Trustees for many education and health-care institutions, including The Salisbury School (1974-1980; trustee emeritus, 1994-2011), Sharon Hospital (1981-1990; chairman of the board, 1982-1990), Westover School (1984-1990, 1993-2000), Salisbury Board of Education (1992-1996), and the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education (1995-2002).Jim lived his life through service to others, first and foremost his family. A father of four, stepfather of four, grandfather of 12, and mentor to countless many, Jim was a skilled and lively storyteller. He reveled in sharing his experiences and knowledge with those around him. He encompassed all of the qualities that our great nation was founded on: determination, compassion and fortitude. Jim was not a man to let moss grow under his feet; always moving from one project to another, he found solace working on his farm and in the garden, from making maple syrup to canning homemade pickles.After Janet passed away in 2004, Jim found a loving and supportive companion in Ellen Ivey. After a sweet and poignant courtship, they were married in front of their family and close friends at The Salisbury School on June 16, 2006. Ellen and Jim spent a wonderful five years traveling the world and bringing their two families together. As fellowship was central to his character, Jim and Ellen were continually giving back to the community.Jim will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Ellen Ivey Bates; his brother, Harold Bates of Wells, Vt.; his son, James Bates and his wife, Susan, of Celebration, Fla., and their children Sarah Bates and her husband, Jason Dorn, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Jonathan Bates of Boston, Mass., and Jordan Bates of Phoenix, Ariz.; his daughter, Joanne Bliss, and her husband, Daniel, of Lakeville, and their children, Courtney Bliss and William Bliss; his son, Jonathan Bates, and his wife, Amy, of Tulsa, Okla., and their children, Austin Bates, Braden Bates and Caroline Bates; his stepchildren, Frederick and Rekha Ivey of Owings Mills, Md., Edward Ivey of North Bergen, N.J., Alison Ivey and Kevin Cole of Seattle, Wash., and their children, Sawyer Cole and Amelia Cole, Laura and Garry Ryon of Preston, Md., and their children, Emily Ryon and Kelly Ryon.A memorial service celebrating Jim’s life will be held Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the chapel of The Salisbury School. To share stories about Jim, go to www.stellatofuneralhomes.com.In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in the memory of James H. Bates to The Salisbury School, 251 Canaan Road, Salisbury, CT 06068; Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service, PO Box 582, Salisbury, CT 06068; or Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association, 30A Salmon Kill Road, Salisbury, CT 06068.

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