Gordon “Red” Newell Bates


Gordon “Red” Newell Bates died peacefully on Sept. 24, 2015, after a period of failing health.

He was born on August 24, 1932, in North Attleboro. As a teenager, he developed his strong work ethic by helping to manage Bates Lace Works. In 1950 he graduated from North Attleboro High School as an accomplished athlete.

His love of the Vineyard began as a young boy during summers in Oak Bluffs. Later, when he moved to the Island permanently, he held many occupations in the community, including working for Campanella Construction to build the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. As a contractor, he developed Old School House Village with his late brother, James S. Bates. Red was involved with planning, and negotiating with town boards and craftsmen, who always held him in high regard for his honesty and attention to detail. He constructed several homes in Edgartown as well as his own home on Marchant’s Path.

His occupation before retirement was owner of the Haven Guest House, now the Thorncroft Inn, in Vineyard Haven. He and his wife Ellie were innkeepers for 10 years. Red had a knack for business, as well as talking and connecting with guests and the many workers he knew. Anyone he came in contact with sought his knowledge of the stock market and Vineyard real estate.

Red enjoyed travel in the off-season. He took many ski trips with his family throughout the Northeast, Colorado, and Canada. During retirement, Ellie and Red would often travel to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Key West, Fla. He always had an eye out for a good travel deal.

He enjoyed spending time on the Vineyard walking the bike paths and beaches, as well as entertaining family and friends in his home. His abundant generosity welcomed people from all walks of life to enjoy good conversation and a cold drink.

Red is survived by his wife of 41 years, Eleanor (Ellie) Bates; two children, Trevor Reid Bates of Somerville and Amy Margaret Bates of Chicago; nieces and nephews Robert Bates and wife Page of Orleans, Judith Bates of Falmouth, Robert Cook of North Dighton, Tracee Cheretien of North Attleboro, Jan Jones of Florida, Natalie Coe and husband Ken of Fair Haven, Vt.; sister-in-law Jeanne Bates of Dennis; brother-in-law John Ribarik of Vineyard Haven. He was a great-uncle to many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his sister, Margaret, and four brothers, William, James, Charles, and Alvin; and by his sister-in-law, Rosemary (Roe Roe) Ribarik, in March.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Fidelis Hospice, 25 Railroad Square 3501, Haverhill, MA 01832, or to Friends of Fleur de Lis Camp, 120 Howeville Rd., Fitzwilliam, NH 03447 or through their website, fleurdeliscamp.org.