Mary Elizabeth (Caldwell) Bates

June 9, 2020

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Mary Elizabeth Bates went home to be with her Heavenly Father surrounded by family on June 9th, 2020. Mary was born July 13th, 1942 to the parentage of  Herman and Rosa Lee Caldwell in Ponca City, OK. 

She was in the first class of black students to attend Ponca City High. She graduated early at the age of 16 in 1957 and went on to college in Oklahoma City where she was a business major. She was a remarkable woman! Mary was a civil service employee for decades. She began as a GS-3 with the US Marine Corps. She received numerous awards and commendations, such as Army Commander's Award for Civilian Service. Mary was the first black woman to be Analyst Specialist Manager for the Corpus Christi Naval Base. She also worked for the government as The Chief of the Adjutant Division up until her retirement in June of 1997 for 35 wonderful years.

Mary lived a beautiful life. She loved family gatherings, Thunder basketball games, cooking, singing, and praising the Lord. She had two sons, Lee Randle and David Ross. Mary met the love of her life, Dino, 38 years ago. The beautiful couple lived the majority of their life in Corpus Christi, TX. After retirement it was Mary’s lifelong dream to settle in her birth place of Ponca City, OK.

Proceeding her passing is Rosa Lee and Herman Caldwell, Julia Dickey, Lee Randle Ross, Cyrus Bates, Herman Caldwell Jr., Alex Caldwell, Larry Ramsey, Allen Hocker, and Kimberley Johnson.

Leaving to cherish her memories is her loving husband Dino Bates, David Ross (s), Mecole (Chad) Williams (d), Cheryl Baird (sis), Tanya (Lorenzo) Stephanson (sis), a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family, and friends. A memorial will be held on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at  2:00 pm Saint John Baptist Church, 1009 S. 11th St. Ponca City OK, 74601 Remembrances may be shared online at

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