Barbara Lee Bates

March 9, 1921April 13, 2018

It is with great sadness that the family of Barbara Bates announces her passing on Friday, April 13, 2018, after a brief illness,. Barbara Lee Ellsworth was born in Fillmore March 9, 1921, the daughter of Howard Ellsworth and Gladys Clapperton. She grew up playing in the orchards and helping in the family’s hardware store. She graduated from Fillmore High in 1939 where she was a gold merit scholarship, cheerleader, and active in many organizations. One of her many accomplishments was 250 words per minute in shorthand (which continued to stump her family when reading her recipes).

She attended Pomona College and graduated from Armstrong Business College and began teaching at McCleod High School. She married Kenneth Bates in 1943, and they eventually settled in Bakersfield in 1946 where Ken established his law practice.

Barbara served on numerous organizations, including Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Bakersfield Country Club Women's Golfers, Northminster Presbyterian church and AAUW. She was a cub scout, bluebird and brownie leader. She dedicated more than 25 years to cooking at Guild House. She also kept busy at home with family, cooking, sewing, knitting, reading, and crossword puzzles.

Her diverse passions included bridge and golf, roses and music boxes, travel and square dancing, and Fillmore High School reunions. She enjoyed multiple bridge clubs up until her eyesight began to fail. She loved the beach and spent many vacations at the family cabin in Rincon. She and Ken traveled, first on international golf trips, followed by cruises, and later exploring the US in their RVs. She had amazing skills ranging from the hula and ukulele learned in college to mandarin cooking, sewing design and California geology classes later in her life.

Barbara will be lovingly remembered by her children, Kenneth Bates of Colorado Springs, Susan Bates Harbuck of Sandpoint Idaho, and Patricia Bates of Sheridan, MT as well as her dutch daughter Ria Maaskant of Gahanna, Ohio. She is also survived by five grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Ken Bates, daughter Diane Murdock, and brother Jack Ellsworth.

Cremation has taken place and Barbara will be buried in Bardsdale Cemetery. Memorial donations in her memory may be made to Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Barbara Lee Bates

have a memory or condolence to add?