Elder Willie Gates, 89, of Alton, IL, passed away peacefully Monday, October 28, 2013 at Rosewood Care Center in Alton, IL.Willie was born in Hollywood, MS to Dewitt and Almeater (Armstrong) Gates and lived most of his earlier years in AR, the Land of Opportunity. He said, “The first opportunity he got, he left”. He was drafted in to the United States Navy in July of 1943 and received an honorable discharge in December of 1945. He married Mary Ann (Hardin) Gates and to this union was born nine children. He moved to Alton IL in 1955 after his dear friend, Pastor Cornelius Brown offered him to move his family from AR to IL for a better life style. Willie was employed at Owens Illinois Glass and retired from there after many years of employment. During his employment, he was the President of the Union and attended many years of college at the University of Missouri to retain this position. During his working years, he was also an Insurance Agent and sold life insurance.Elder Gates accepted the Lord at an early age and was a member of Belle Street Temple C.O.G.I.C under the leadership of Superintendent R.J. Monroe. He was the District Y.P.W.W. President for many years. Elder Gates said that the Lord told him to pastor and therefore, he started Bibleway C.O.G.I.C. and he kept the church until he became ill.He is survived by his children, Harold (Jean) Gates of Sun Prairie, WI, Bobby (Eloise) Gates of Godfrey, IL, Louis Gates of Los Angeles, CA, Donna Turner of Alton, IL, Doris (Robert) Douglas of Tacoma, WA, Gregory (Grace) Gates of Phoenix, AZ, and Yvonne Gates of Alton, IL, 24 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren, 4 brother, Seymour (Betty) Gates, Elexie (Earline) Gates, Tommy (Coretta) Gates, and Charles Gates, 3 sisters, Dorothy Moody, Mary Gates, and Shirley Smith, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Douglas and Johnny Gates, a sister, Susie Johnson, Mary Ann Gates, his two sons Ralph and Samuel Gates. A special thanks to the staff at St. Anthony’s Adult Day Center, Addus Health Care, the staff at Senior Services Plus and the close friends that assisted with his care helping his daughter Yvonne.Visitation will convene Thursday from 4:30 until 7:00 p.m. at Deliverance Temple Complex will resume Friday, November 1, 2013 from 9 until time of service at 10:00 a.m. District Superintendent Gregory L. Harrison will officiate. Interment will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Guest signatures and condolences can be registered to www.harrisonfuneralchapel.com.
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