Family Funeral Care

4925 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN


Betty Lou Bates

July 29, 1928June 28, 2020

Betty S. Bates passed away on June 28, 2020 at the age of 91. She was born to Truman E. and Roxie Lea Spruell of Paragould, Arkansas on July 29, 1928. Betty was a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. She married the love of her life, Claude A. Bates, on May 23, 1949 and they were happily married until Claude’s passing in November of 2010. She is survived by a loving family: daughters Donna (Steve) Kent of Indianapolis, Indiana, and, Claudia (David) Boswell of Newnan, Georgia, five grandsons and six great grandchildren.

Betty was an educator. She served Harding Academy of Memphis (MHA) for 27 years. First, she taught English for several years, and then she served as Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction. She was a long-time member of White Station Church of Christ. Betty will be fondly remembered for her love of God, the church, MHA and her family. Her impact on hundreds of students and faculty was wide reaching. She will be sorely missed.

A private funeral will be held with family and a memorial service will be conducted at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Harding Academy of Memphis Betty Bates Scholarship Fund or the Betty Bates Teacher of the Year Award (checks only for this one), 1100 Cherry Road, Memphis, TN 38117 or to Harding University, 915 East Market Avenue, Searcy, AR 72149.


  • Harding Academy of Memphis Betty Bates Scholarship Fund
  • Betty Bates Teacher of the Year Award (checks only for this one)
  • Harding University


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


Betty Lou Bates

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Debra Plunket

July 2, 2020

Mrs. Betty Bates meant so much to me. I was a "different" sort of child. Not a problem, nor did I ever get in trouble in high school, but she took the time to talk with me one on one at least once a month. She was a perfect example of a strong Christian woman. Her husband and I had the same endocrinologist for a while, and we would talk while we waited for the doctor to catch up. She was simply a beautiful lady in every way. I'm sure she's now busy getting heaven organized. :)

Jane Mitchell Iley

June 30, 2020

I have loved your family since I was in third grade. I got to know your mom when I entered 7th grade, and every time I saw her she had a beautiful smile and hug for me. Harding was never the same when she retired. Love and prayers.

Susan Rubio

June 30, 2020

I was in the very first English class Mrs. Bates taught at Harding Academy. Betty is the reason I became an English teacher, and she was always my #1 career cheerleader and encourager. Betty and I shared a deep and abiding love of diagramming sentences and of Harding Academy. I'm so very grateful that she and I will spend an eternity together. Betty, hug my mom for me! I know that together you are remembering that first very hard teaching year of yours . . . all teachers remember those first challenging teaching days. Thank you for loving me well. I love you.

Jane Maness

June 30, 2020

Betty Bates was one of the wisest women I have ever met. She embodied what a Christian educator should be - she modeled Christ in all her dealings with parents, students and teachers....she was quick to listen, slow to speak. She was a mentor to so many. So willing to help you in whatever way she could. My family loved Mrs. Bates - she even "graduated" with our son in 1990 when she ended her career at Harding Academy. We were blessed to have her in our lives!

James Boswell

June 29, 2020

Grandma 👵 you will be missed we love ❤️ you.

Jennifer Wilson

June 29, 2020

Claudia, I never got the honor of meeting your mom but felt like I knew her through you. Her wisdom and passion for teaching I see in you and we are so blessed by you. We love you and have you in our prayers.