Murphy Funeral Homes


Richard Martin Bates Sr.

September 2, 1950December 31, 2020

On Thursday, December 31, 2020, Richard Bates, loving husband and father, passed away from sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 70. Richard was born on September 2, 1950 in Washington, D.C. to Can and Sylvia Bates. He married fellow Capitol Hill staffer, Rose Bates, on June 10, 1978 – his best friend and the love of his life. After working for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under the tutelage of friend and mentor Rep. Beryl Anthony, Richard devoted the last 30 years of his life serving as Sr. VP of the Walt Disney Company. He cherished his job and his coworkers, taking great pride in their many accomplishments together.

Richard was passionate about a wide range of subjects, from Civil War history and 1960’s counterculture to North Carolina Tar Heels basketball and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He was an avid record collector with similarly eclectic taste in music, from Gram Parsons and Lou Reed to Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. But above all else, Richard was known for his generous heart and uniquely magnetic personality that lit up a room like a lava lamp. Success never changed him, and he treated everyone with dignity and respect as long as they weren’t Duke University basketball fans.

Richard is survived by his wife, Rose; two sons, Ricky (Noelle) and Chris; brother, Robert (Judith); and canine-granddaughter, Betty, along with numerous other special relatives. Services will be held at a future date, TBA. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Music Health Alliance, a non-profit organization providing musicians with health care assistance and advocacy.


Richard Martin Bates Sr.

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Amy Phillips

January 13, 2021

I always looked forward to the opportunity to cross paths with Richard at work, even though it usually meant we were assessing and/or dealing with a potential issue. He was unflappable. Not only would he provide the clarity and perspective we needed, but he was able to diffuse any tension with his signature wit and calm demeanor. And, no matter who you were or what your role was, he treated everyone with respect. A lovely man all around. My condolences.

Chris LaPlaca

January 12, 2021

Richard was a bright light in a complicated world. Mostly we came together to solve a problem...or to "discuss" Duke basketball (my wife is a Duke grad). Normally you'd prefer not to have problems...and the kind that brought me to Richard were as nuanced as any. But any road that led to a chat with Richard was ALWAYS welcome because you just knew there would be a laugh (or several), and of course you would find your way through. We are diminished without him in many ways, but mostly as people, not just colleagues. I can only imagine the loss his family is feeling, and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Dave McDermitt

January 10, 2021

I was shocked and extremely saddened to learn of Richard's recent passing. He and I go back a long way, having worked together in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Leo Zeferetti back in the late '70s and early '80s -- and we remained close friends until I left DC to live in the Boston area and later, Florida. We worked together, caroused together, went to many ballgames and watched innumerable sporting events and movies on TV, and shared so many other wonderful times together.

One of my most vivid experiences was when we were on the reelection campaign trail with our boss in the late '70s. Richard and I took over a friend's apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, working all day before hitting the bar circuit -- 42 bars and pubs in 10 days, to be exact! Windows on the World, Tavern on the Green, Little Italy, Chinatown -- we did it all.

Rose, you were the love of his life for as long as I knew Richard. You are one of the sweetest, kindest and most beautiful people I've known, and he loved you and the boys dearly. I can't begin to imagine the pain of your loss, and my heart and heartfelt blessings go out to you.

Richard and I were in touch infrequently in recent years due primarily to geography. We had been in touch over the past two years and recently made tentative plans to get our old ACC basketball tournament gang together again post-Covid. I will miss the joy of that reunion.

I am just so saddened by Richard's passing. I'll remember him always with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I thank God for the time we had together -- his memory will always bring me happiness. It was a privilege and a pleasure to know him.

Margaret Fishel McLemore

January 9, 2021

I went to HHS with Rose. My sincere thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.
Margaret Fishel McLemore

Deborah Green Downing

January 9, 2021

I’m a classmate of Lynn Rose HHS. Am so sorry for y’all’s loss; your husband and your kids father. It’s difficult to lose your friend and soul mate. Many prayers and blessings to you.
Deborah Green Downing
Brandon Mississippi

Ginnie Eldredge

January 6, 2021

I worked with Richard at the DCCC ~ learned more, laughed more, loved more, than any job since. He was a terrific boss, so good with people. He taught me how to say, ‘I’m wrong!’ I have shared that lesson with so many colleagues over the years. Back in the day, we busted a union at the Democratic Headquarters ~ Beryl and Richard were magnificent political mentors. I am so very sad to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences to Rose, the boys and family.

Geoffrey Peterson

January 2, 2021

Rose and family. We loved you and Richard so much. He will be missed and we grieve with you. From the days he worked with Beryl doing tax legislation to DCCC to Disney, he always brought a smile to our face and heart. I think back to wonderful events like the DCCC at the Preakness to dinners at CommandersPalace and jazz fest, to lunches at the Prime Rib and other wonderful places- sometimes going longer than they should, to wonderful phone conversations. We talked about getting together after Covid and sharing time in Florida- in Delray Beach and south beach. And lots of trips to Arkansas. Richard was special- as you were lucky to know every day. We send our love to you , Rose, and your family, and we would love to share good times with you in the future. Much love. Nance and Jeff Peterson

Steve Morris

January 2, 2021

I am so sorry for your loss. I was a friend of Richard’s in high school. I had the great privilege of a wonderful conversation with Richard at our 50th class reunion. He was a man to be admired. Wishing you God’s comfort for your family.
Steve Morris