John Kenneth Gates Sr., 83, Died peacefully at his home with family on November 21, 2022. He was born February 6, 1939, to the late Joseph Granville Gates Sr. and Adeline Latsch Gates.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his brother Granville Gates Jr., 1924-1967, who was fourteen years older than Kenneth and was also a World War II Veteran. His wife, Patricia Coleman Gates; Kenneth, and Patricia were married on April 2, 1960, and she passed away on December 4, 2004, after forty-four years of marriage. Also preceded in death was his partner Jo Chandler whom he met in 2006 at the Fairfield Bay Methodist Church. She passed away on December 19, 2019.
Kenneth graduated from East High School in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Memphis State University. As a teenager, he was determined to follow in the likeness of his father and older brother, who were both proud Eagle Scouts. Kenneth became an Eagle Scout just like his two greatest heroes, his dad, and brother. Kenneth joined the USMC reserves in 1956 and served for 6 months of active reserve duty in Paris Island, North Carolina. He served the full 8 years that he enlisted. Kenneth’s father owned an appliance store on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. While in the USMC reserves, he worked at the appliance store. Here is where Kenneth learned from his father the skills of becoming a “truly great salesman”. He worked there on and off until it closed in 1967. Ken’s older brother, Granville Gates Jr., started a home construction business in Memphis Tennessee in 1948 after World War II. He started working with his brother in the business around 1960. After Granville passed in 1967, Kenneth continued running Gates Construction until its closing in 1980. He was a very good salesman, after learning his skills from watching his father. In 1980, Kenneth started an eighteen-year career in the automobile dealership business. He started in sales, then moved up to Finance Manager, and then General Manager. In 1998, Kenneth was convinced with an offer to move to Beverly Hills California, to join a limousine service company. He immediately became the top salesperson. Kenneth did this until he and Pat decided to move to Fairfield Bay Arkansas in 2001 where he started his business College Sports Stuff LLC. The business was successful until his semi-retirement in 2013. Kenneth served as Board Member and treasurer at Fairfield Bay Methodist Church. He also served as a Board Member at Fairfield Bay Library.
Kenneth leaves behind his children, Deborah Gates Delashmit (Peter), Susan Gates Sutton (Dennis), and John Kenneth Gates Jr; his grandchildren, Coleman Jones, Ethan Jones (Sarah), Shelton Jones (Hannah) Bailey Christenbury (Jose), William Christenbury (Corrie), Deanna Lyons (Rob); his 7 great-grandchildren; and nephews, Granville Gates (Susan), Jeff Gates (Carol).
Ken was a great story teller, which added to his ability to be a first-class flirt! A stubborn man full of generosity, kindness, and wit. He was a blessing for those that had the opportunity to know him.
Service at Memorial Park and Columbarium, 765 Dave Creek Pkwy, Fairfield Bay, AR 72088 - December 10, 2022 - 2:30 PM.
Celebration of Life- FFB Conference Center December 10, 2022 - 3:00 - 6:00 PM
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Fairfield Bay Methodist Church Memorial Park and Columbarium Fund or American Cancer Society.
Clinton Funeral Service is honored to be entrusted with these arrangements