Frank Oliver Bates 81, passed away November 3, 2015 at his home in Winchester Tennessee. Frank was born in Nashville Tennessee in a house attached to the back of a grocery store on 25th Avenue North to Joe O and Victoria (Resha) Bates on June 22, 1934. Frank and his brother Joe Norman (Flip) grew up and played around the Parthenon and downtown Nashville. He attended Cathedral School where he met many of his lifelong friends and they went on to graduate from Father Ryan High School, Class of 1953.
After graduation he and some of his classmates decided to go into military service. Frank joined the Marines in 1953 and went to Paris Island then to Camp Lejeune North Carolina where he attended Radio Telegraph School and was stationed in Kofu Japan at the foot of Mt. Fuji. July 7, 1956 after his service Frank rode home on a bus past the family grocery store, changed clothes and went to work that day. Eddies Bi-Rite Store was formed by his father Joe and his Uncle Edward Resha as a partnership. Both men invested all they had and formed the family business. Joe was the manager and buyer with Eddie as the meat cutter and the wives Mattie Lou and Victoria were the cashiers. Frank purchased his parents interest in the business and under the leadership of Frank and Eddie the business grew to be the number one store in the Bi-Rite organization.
When Nashville’s interstate was built the road by the store was cut off and they became a neighborhood grocery. Frank and Eddie decided to go up the road to Lafayette Street and purchase an H.G. Hill Store and form a corporation with Frank as President and Eddie as Vice President. Upon the passing of Eddie in 1981 Frank assumed the total operation of Eddies Foods Inc. March 1982 Frank purchased a business in Winchester Tennessee from his friend Mr. Horace G. Hill and hired Robert Wilhoite as manager. As Chairman of the Board for over ten years of Bi-Rite & Foodtown, Frank helped Mr. Hill find buyers for his stores when needed. He also assisted Mr. Hill to set up a meat program for H G Hill’s Stores that mirrored the successful program that he had implemented in Bi-Rite & Foodtown, a Co-Op of over 200 stores.
Not happy to sit idle Frank purchased more stores located in Franklin, Hartsville, Lebanon, White Bluff, built a new store in Nolensville and formed B.O.R. Corporation which later became Bates Foods Inc. Frank while Chairman of the board of Bi Rite and Footown purchased the Hills Grocery store in 1982 and hired Robert Wilhoit for the position of manager. During the next 25 years many customers were served and many workers were employed by Bates Food store.
Frank and Jeannie moved to the City of Winchester in 1989. Sometime after moving, all stores were sold leaving just the Winchester store. Frank and store manager Randy Kelly operated the store for many years until it was sold in 2007. Also during this time, Frank decided to buy the property next to the grocery and opened up Tires Inc. with Timmy Archey as Manager, a new adventure for a grocery man.Since moving to Winchester Frank has been a true supporter of the community. Frank is a 2nd Degree Mason, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. As a member of the Winchester City Council, along with Mayor David Bean, he was instrumental in getting the Simplex, and the Citizens Pavilion in the City Park and set aside the upstart money from High on the Hog to build Adventure Mountain Playground. Frank has been Rotary President, Co-Chaired Crime Stoppers, Chairman of High on the Hog, Beer Board member, Board of Directors of Franklin County Senior Citizens and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Through the years Frank has cooked pancakes, BBQ, steaks, chili and country ham for many contests and charities. He has supported football, baseball, and soccer teams. He has donated time, money, and food to many families along with supporting various organizations and charities such as Operation Noel, 4 H, Project Graduation, Sewanee’s St Theresa’s Outreach, Franklin County Farmers Pavilion, Gamble Sports Complex, Crime Stoppers, Kiwanis Club, Senior Citizens Center, holiday food baskets. Many churches have borrowed his large tent for revivals. Frank is a member of Good Shepard Church and has been a supporter of many fundraisers for the Church.Frank was a meat cutter and grocery man by trade but was known to all as a great cook. Heaven has truly gained and we have lost a great man.Visitation will be 5 to 8 pm Friday November 6, 2015 at Moore Cortner Funeral Home in Winchester Tennessee. Services will be held at 10 am Saturday November 7, 2015 at Good Shepard Church, Decherd, Tennessee.
Frank was proceeded in death by his parents Joe & Victoria Bates, Brother Joe Norman (Flip) Bates, Survived by wife of 29 years Jeannie L. Bates, Son Edward Mitchell Bates, Daughter Tiffi (Scott) Gentry, Step Son Stephen (Kathryn) Phoenix, Step Son Wesley (Allison) Slater, Grandchildren Sloan (Brian) Lowe, Katie (Garrett) Weller, Victoria Elizabeth Bates, Maryn Krall, Brenna Phoenix, Gordon Slater, Bruce Slater, Claudia Slater, Callie Slater, Great Grandchild Weston Lowe, Sister in laws Glorier Godwin, Cynthia (Dale) Silagyi, brother in laws Reverend Leon (Mabel) Godwin, John (Evelyn) Godwin (deceased).