Joyce  Bates

Obituary of Joyce Anne Bates

Joyce Anne Bates, age 96, passed away on January 30, 2023.  She loved life deeply.  Mother’s love for her husband of 73 years, Richard Bates, only grew stronger with the passage of time.  Joyce and “Dick” lived at their home 130 Eighth Ave in Baraboo for over 60 years.  They spent those years lovingly maintaining the home where they raised six children and making a show place of their colorful flower gardens.  Many Baraboo couples had their prom pictures taken in those gardens.  In her later years, Joyce enjoyed sitting on her bench at the back of the yard with a cup of coffee peacefully looking at the yard and house.

Joyce Anne Jonas was born on March 24, 1926 to Charles and Elaine Jonas in Kentucky across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She was raised in Cincinnati and always considered it her home.  When it got hot in Wisconsin, she would say “This is Cincinnati weather!”  Joyce was the middle child of seven children, five girls and two boys raised during the Depression.  Her family, the hard times of the Depression and World War 2 shaped her.  Mother made certain that each of her six children remembered the sacrifice of her oldest brother, Charles, who died in Europe fighting the Nazis in WWll.  She also cared for Dick when he had nightmares of fighting the Japanese in Burma.  President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal made mother a Democrat.  For years, Joyce served as a poll worker in Baraboo, one of the few Democrats that the city could find in the 50’s.  In 1960 she met Jackie Kennedy who was campaigning in Baraboo for her husband, “Jack” Kennedy.  Mother could feed a family of eight on a very thin budget, but there were always homemade cookies in the cookie jar.  Her kitchen was her headquarters; the clothes washer was running, something wonderful was in the oven, and the ironing board was set up.  Joyce could keep an eye on the clothes drying on the line and a child or two outside of her kitchen window while she worked and listened to the “State Station” (WPR) on the radio.

Joyce had a great thirst for history.  She read every day.  She read and reread Durants’ 11 volume “The Story of Civilization”.  She made sure that all six of her children went to college.  Joyce and Dick belonged to the Fortnightly Literary Club.  She wrote poetry.  She played bridge with the same ladies for years.  She traveled as much as she could with her husband and with her dear friend, Brenda Rotzoll.  In the early 1980’s, the need for a new car replaced a planned trip to Spain.  Mother never really forgave the car that had died.

Mother was athletic.  She loved to swim and ice skate at Devil’s Lake, bicycle to Reedsburg with Dick for breakfast, and hike or ski on the bluffs and trails around Baraboo.  Joyce took ballet lessons and ballroom danced with her husband.  She roller skated the streets of Baraboo and chaperoned roller skating at St. Joseph Catholic School.  In her 80’s, Joyce won gold at the Badger State Games in swimming. Some years ago, mother answered a child’s question about the “meaning of life”.  Her answer was swift and certain: “To pass it on”.  Joyce Anne Bates passed on to her family and community a legacy of love for life to be lived to the fullest.  We, who follow in her footsteps, are proud to do so.

Joyce was preceded by her husband Dick on January 11, 2020. She is survived by her sister, Patricia Hillen; her children, Diana (Tom) Jones of Watertown, Alan (Jessica Southworth) Bates of Janesville, Laurette (Greg) Greenhalgh of Fort Atkinson, Barbara Bair of Baraboo, Brian (Katherine) Bates of Falls Church, Virginia and Eric (Donna) Bates of Madison; twelve grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her daughter-in-law, Barbara Kretzmann Bates, son-in-law, Charles Bair and great grandson, Avery Terwilliger.

A Celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.  Memorials may be made to the Baraboo Public Library and the Friends of Devils Lake.  Online Condolences may be made at   Nitardy Funeral Home, Fort Atkinson is assisting the family.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Nitardy Funeral Home - Fort Atkinson
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