Winford Eugene Bates, 84, of Covington, GA, died June 14, 2020. Gene was born on September 18, 1935, in Covington, to James Lamar and Rosa Claire Bates. He entered the United States Naval Construction Battalion in 1953, as a Seabee, building runways on Midway Island. Gene’s service then took him to Sasebo, Japan, where he installed overhead powerlines. When he returned, he enrolled at Georgia State and graduated with a B.A. in 1962. Gene began working for Allstate Insurance as a district sales manager in North Carolina. In 1970, he returned to Covington and started the Gene Bates Insurance Agency in a one-room upstairs office on the Square. The agency is still in business today. Gene had a deep love for his family. He was kind and generous and never met a stranger. Gene was also a devoted caregiver over the years for many family members. He enjoyed spending time on Jackson Lake, the Jacks River in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and fishing along the Apalachee River.
Gene will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn (nee Griffith); sons, Daron (C.C.), Kevin (Rebecca), and Landon (Leah); grandchildren, Emilyann and Griffith, Gavin and Gracie, Tyler and Sophia. He is also survived by his sister, Linda Lou Williams; sister-in-law, Katherine Bates; and brothers-in-law, Jim, John (Candy), and Steve Griffith.
A Graveside Service for Gene will be held Friday, June 19, 2020, 11:00 A.M. at Oxford Historical Cemetery, in Oxford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memorial Honor Program, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to the American Diabetes Association, 225 Peachtree Street NE, Suite #550, Atlanta, GA 30303.