October 4, 1922 — May 6, 2019
Jane Bates, 96, a lifelong resident of Corvallis, died peacefully Monday morning, following a long illness.
Jane graduated from Corvallis High School, attended Stanford University prior to World War II, and completed her degree requirements at the University of Washington.
She and her husband, Ben, were true partners, dedicated to active parenting and active engagement in Corvallis’ civic and social activities throughout their 73 years of marriage. Jane was a “force,” known for her high energy and her can-do attitude. She was a hostess’ hostess, organizing hundreds of unique and creative “theme” parties for as few as 12 and as many as 450 people, including one that filled Gill Coliseum.
Throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, the Bates house on 35th Street was notable for its extensive outdoor Christmas displays, built around a gingerbread theme. In that context, Jane became known as the “Gingerbread Lady.” What started with a couple of neighborhood kids receiving a Christmas cookie after stopping to use the bathroom at the Bates house on their way home from Harding School, blossomed into the distribution of over 1,000 decorated cookies to 100-plus kids each year. Recipients would frequently leave a bag of sugar or flour on the porch to encourage a continuation of the tradition.
Jane was an exquisite “tole” painter and an avid gardener. She and Ben traveled extensively (26 countries) after his retirement, often playing golf at some of the great golf courses in the world. She recorded her only hole-in-one in 1982 and broke 80 in 1986 at Black Butte Ranch, recording a birdie on the last hole to shoot 78.
Jane is survived by her three children, Scott, Cynthia and Kevin; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A small, family-only gathering, celebrating her life will be held on Mother’s Day.