Hardy D Gates

1930 ~ 2021 (age 90)

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Hardy D. Gates


On Tuesday January 19, 2021, Hardy Duane Gates, loving husband of the late Betty Butterfield Gates and father of four daughters, passed away peacefully in San Antonio, TX at the age of 90. Hardy was born on November 26, 1930 in Fremont, MI to Joseph and Florence (Wickham) Gates. Hardy served his country in the Korean war and two tours in Vietnam. He completed his service as a Presidential helicopter pilot for Presidents Johnson and Nixon and retired from the Marine Corps in 1973. Following his military service, he began a second career with Wilsonart in Atlanta, GA, where he retired in 1994.


On September 7, 1953, Hardy and Betty were married at Oak Park United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi, TX. For 51 years they shared a deep love for each other and their growing family. Hardy and Betty enjoyed tag-teaming on crossword puzzles, playing couples Bridge and Pinochle, traveling throughout the United States sightseeing, and visiting family and friends. Hardy’s life and time revolved around Betty, his girls, and later his grandchildren and great grandchildren. The epitome of a girl’s daddy, he ironed clothes, listened to endless chatter, and gave the best hugs. He stayed involved and committed to supporting his grandchildren and great grandchildren’s endeavors throughout his life. Hardy never missed an opportunity to tell them how proud he was of them. A generous and charitable man, he gave to his family and to many organizations, especially those that support children. He was a tough Marine but a soft-hearted man who placed family above all else. He is dearly loved and will be missed.


Hardy was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and his brother, Joseph Gates. He is survived by his daughters, Donna (Murray) Kelly of Warner Robins, GA, Cathy (Richard) Best of Madison, GA, Leslie (Dan) Rice of San Antonio, TX, and Sheri (Mike) McGaughy of Atlanta, GA; grandchildren, Ashley Kelly Ellis, Keith Kelly, Joseph Best, Thomas Best, Morgan Rice Grooms, Kayla Rice, Daniel “Marty” Rice, and Helen McGaughy; and great grandchildren, Shelby Ellis, Reed Ellis, Liam “Cooper” Grooms, and Arizona Kelly.


A family Memorial Service was held at St. David’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, TX. A private Committal Service will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at the Madison-Morgan Memorial Park Cemetery, Madison, GA.  The family has designated St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for memorial contributions.

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Private Committal

Madison City Cemetery
West Central Avenue
Madison, Georgia 30650

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