Robert John “Bob” Gates, 77, took a final ride into the sunset on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa following a brief illness. A visitation and viewing will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Owens Livingston Mortuary-White Mountain Chapel, 320 N. Ninth St. in Show Low. On Thursday, Aug. 10, those car enthusiasts who would like to drive their old classic cars in the procession escorting the hearse carrying Bob’s casket to the funeral are invited to gather at the mortuary no later than 11:15 a.m. The funeral service will follow at 1 p.m. at the Pinetop First Baptist Church, 1901 E. White Mountain Blvd. in Pinetop.
Bob was born Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939, in Edgewood, Iowa, to the late John William and Sybil (Griffith) Gates.
As a very young boy, Bob moved to Arizona with his family, making their home in Tucson. He was a graduated member of Amphitheater High School’s Class of 1957. After his graduation, he attended college for a short while.
On Jan. 7, 1961, Bob married his Forever Sweetheart, Linda Kaye Hall in North English, Iowa. Most recently, the happy couple celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary together.
In 1980, Bob and Linda, with their teenaged children in tow, moved to Lakeside. He worked for several years as the Navajo County Fair manager and loved every minute of it.
Bob was a huge old car enthusiast. He was one of the co-founders of and was key in starting the Run to the Pines Car Show 34 years ago. The car show is an annual event that literally brings thousands of people from all over the state to Lakeside in their old classic cars. The event has always been a favorite for the locals as well, as they would line the streets and watch the parade of hundreds of classic cars drive from Show Low to Lakeside/Pinetop. It always made for a great afternoon. The parade of cars would then be on display for a couple of days, drawing thousands of spectators to come and see the beautiful classics. Bob always had a string of old cars himself, however, his favorite was his ‘66 Mustang. Most recently he acquired an American Motors AMX and was looking forward to adding that car to his classic collection.
He was a man who appreciated the communities in which he lived. Not only did he love the beauty of the White Mountains, but he also loved the people who lived there. He was a good neighbor to everybody. Bob was a man who lived his life in the service of others. He helped coordinate countless fundraisers over the course of the past several decades. He and Linda were ever present activists in their fundraising endeavors and helped bring in tens of thousands of dollars to local White Mountain groups, including: Meals on Wheels, The Animal Shelter and the SAFE House.
Of all of his achievements in this life, Bob’s greatest accomplishment was that of his family. He knew that no measure of worldly success could ever compensate for failure in the home. He loved his family more than anything and taught them well by his example. He taught them the value of hard work and how to love. His wife, Linda, said that “He was my sweetheart for a long time and he was my crutch in life.” His daughter, Kristi, added that, “I was always a Daddy’s girl.” His son J. said that his dad “was not afraid to be a father to anybody because, between Kristi’s and my friends, he raised a lot of kids!” Bob’s grandchildren also had loving things to say of him. Greg said that “he was loved by all; it didn’t matter if they knew him for five minutes or a lifetime.” Aaron said, “He was always there for me.”
Survivors include his wife, Linda Gates of Lakeside; his two children, Kristi (Adrian) Pacheco-Hayden of Southport, N.C., and John “J.” (Sandi) Gates of Queen Creek; three grandchildren, Greg Pacheco (and his fiancé, Jessica Caroon) and Aaron Pacheco, both of Southport, and Mitch Gates of Queen Creek; and his sister, Joycia Weinzapfel of Tucson.
Memorial contributions in Bob’s name to White Mountain Meals on Wheels, 301 E. McNeil, Show Low, Ariz. 85901, The White Mountain SAFE House, P.O. Box 1890, Pinetop, Ariz. 85935, or The Humane Society of the White Mountains, P.O. Box 909, Lakeside, Ariz. 85929 have all been suggested by his family.