Sidney Dean Gates

21 junio , 193215 mayo , 2021

Always in our hearts

Sidney Gates, 88, died May 15, 2021. Sid was born in Newton, KS on June 21, 1932 to Eva (Hoberecht) and Russell Gates. Sid moved to a farm near Wichita, KS a few miles from the Culver airplane plant just as WWII was ramping up. From the fields of the farm, Sid watched in awe as P-38s were “rat-racing” around at tree-top level, usually one pair chasing another. Sid knew, right then, that he would fly. At 6’2” however, Sid’s first flight would be the jump shot.

Sid’s family moved to Newton, KS and by his senior year he was a starter for the Newton High School basketball team. While in high school Sid met Shirley McJilton, who asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Sid went to the dance but was also seeing another girl. According to Sid: “A few weeks later Shirley gave me an ultimatum: quit dating that other girl or else! I chose Shirley: my best decision, ever.” Sid and Shirley married on May 31, 1952.

His skill in basketball landed him a full scholarship to University of Wichita, from which he graduated in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in business. College also gave Sid his path to becoming a pilot.

While at University of Wichita, Sid enrolled in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) ROTC program. There he was introduced to aeromodeling. Sid recalled, “On my first flight, the model rolled a couple feet, I gave it up elevator, as it lifted off the ground it immediately turned left, flew straight at me, and crashed.” He was hooked.

After being commissioned as an officer in the USAF, Sid realized his dream of flying when he was accepted into the pilot training program. He graduated from pilot training and received his pilot’s wings in May 1956. He became an Air Force fighter pilot flying the F-94C as part of the Fighter Interceptor Squadron based in Rome, NY. He separated from the Air Force in December 1958 at the rank of captain.

Although Sid was no longer in the cockpit, his love of flying took the form of building and flying radio controlled model airplanes. Sid and his growing family moved to Denver in July of 1960. In 1968, Sid started Royal Electronics a company that designed and built radio control systems for model airplanes. Sid’s passion was now his business!

Sid also owned and operated Tech Industries and Direct Source, computer consulting and manufacturing businesses until his retirement in 2005.

Sid remained an active modeler and was inducted into the Academy of Model Aeronautics Hall of Fame in 2014. He was an ardent tennis player until he found pickleball, which gave him a community of friends who helped fill the void when he lost his beloved wife and companion.

Sid was Preceded in death by his wife, Shirley and his brothers Neil and Keith. He is survived by his sister Nancy; children Brian (Barbara) Gates and Carol (William) Bauman; grandchildren Leigh (Steven) Torres; Jacklyn (Luke) Jackson; Patrick (Maranda) Gates; and Russell Gates; great grandchildren Augustine, Milena, Samuel, and Rafael Torres; Finnegan, Carter, Leo, and Josephine Jackson.

Sid and Shirley shared a life filled with love, laughter, and model airplanes. According to Shirley, “Best days were when Sid brought a plane back home; worst days were when the plane came back home, but in pieces.” They are together again with only best days ahead!

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 30 at 11:00am., at Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary, 6601 S. Colorado Blvd. Centennial, CO 80121. Memorial donations may be sent to either Air Force Aid Society or The American Heart Association.


  • Memorial Service

    domingo, 30 mayo , 2021

  • Reception

    domingo, 30 mayo , 2021


Sidney Dean Gates


Clyde Carter

15 octubre , 2021

To the Sid Gates Family:

My wife and I wish to express our Deepest Sympathy to All of you. I just learned of Sid's passing this morning after doing an on-line search of friends and associates of mine when we lived Colorado. Sid was an honest, humble and kind man. We owned and operated a computer business in Westminster, Colorado and Sid was always there in supporting us. I always remember him because of his unique personality, and he will be missed. RIP Sid, and thanks for sharing your "HUMANITY" with us.

Steve Whitney

26 mayo , 2021

To many wonderful memories with the Gates family growing up, Sid and Shirley were the best !!!

Kimberly Seymour

25 mayo , 2021

We knew Sid from playing Pickleball at Eisenhower Rec. Center. He was a competitive & skilled player as well as a consummate gentleman both on & off the court. A couple of years ago, Sid invited us to an R/C event at Chatfield State Park where we were able to see him in his element. We were impressed with how Sid evaluated the various angles in degrees the planes flew…we could tell he was passionate & knowledgeable about flying. We will dearly miss Sid, and pray that through time his family will receive peace and comfort from the many warm memories of him.
Phil & Kimberly Seymour

Glen Magree

25 mayo , 2021

Sid was always some one who i looked forward to seeing at the flying field and learning about his latest project. We were friends for a lot of years. He was a true designer and scratch builder. The world would be a better place with more men like him.

Travis Mcginnis

24 mayo , 2021

Sid was always an inspiration to me as a great guy and excellent r/c modeler. I'd met Sid before moving back to Colorado through his Royal radios and Royal Products while living in Missouri. Had the privilege of flying competitively with him in quarter midget racing here in Colorado.
Sid was a quiet and good competitor willing to share his knowledge of r/c flying and always ready to help a fellow modeler.
His presence will be missed by many and may his family be comforted by knowing how well he was respected in modeling fraternities.
Rest well my friend, Travis McGinnis

Chris Jacobsen

24 mayo , 2021

I am so saddened to learn of Sid’s passing. I offer my sincere condolences to the Gates family. I first met Sid in 1963 where he thought me how to fly RC airplanes. I joined the Denver RC Eagles right away at Sid’s suggestion. Following college graduation, Sid hired me to build some of the first Royal Classic Kit radios systems along with drawing up some of the instruction manual diagrams. I have fond memories of working on Brian’s Datsun in the family garage and eating lunch with the family. Sid and I spent many long discussions over the years about all things airplane, from rubber powered to full scale jets. To say I will miss my wonderful friend is a major understatement.

Joe Pirozzoli

24 mayo , 2021

Dear Gates Family,

On behalf of the entire membership of the Arvada Associated Modelers, of which Sid was included, we offer our sincerest condolences and prayers. Many of our members knew him and were impacted by his generosity both as a modeler and as a great person. I have heard from many of our members in this regard. His contributions are too numerous to count. His influence and innovations in the modeling world span generations, countless individuals and many accomplishments. He was a true modeler at heart... continually intrigued by the hobby, ever evolving, and generous to a fault. He will truly be missed and remembered by many. We all wish you Godspeed Sid.

Joe Pirozzoli, President
Arvada Associated Modelers

Jerri Wisdom

22 mayo , 2021

Jack Steinhauser - I would love to read your biography of Sid.

Jerri Wisdom

22 mayo , 2021

Dearest Gates Family,
Once again we are saying goodbye to a beloved Gates brother. I have known this family since childhood in Newton, Kansas. My heart is very sad and Sid will be missed forever. I miss everyone. God Bless Nancy and all the Gates Family. Much love. Jerri

Oliver Shaw

21 mayo , 2021

Syd \was a friend and a fellow warrior, I first met Syd in1980 and got to know him as a fellow modeler and a great friend. He was a giant in the Colorado RC fellow ship and was known world wide for his contributions to the RC world with his ROYAL line of radios. We have lost a great friend and wish his family well. We will meet again Syd at that special flying field in the sky.