Marvin Bates

Marvin George Bates, age 81 of Hudson, Wisconsin passed away on September 6, 2022 at his home while in hospice care with his loving wife by his side.


Marv was born in a primitive farmhouse just north of Norcross, Minnesota on April 10, 1941, to George and Lillian (Twenge) Bates. He lived on the farm where his dad and grandfather farmed for the next 20 years. As a youngster, he enjoyed following his dad around helping where he could on the farm and at the age of 10 his dad bought a new, red farm tractor and told him that it was HIS tractor. This is one of many cherished memories. He attended a one room schoolhouse, 2 miles north of the farm until the 4th grade, when the district consolidated with Elbow Lake. He attended elementary and high school there, graduating with honors, in 1959.


In high school he spent time working with his Uncle Johnnie doing carpenter work. After graduation he worked with several area carpenters, further learning and perfecting his skills as a builder. Skills that would last his lifetime. He began working for the Minnesota Highway Department in 1961 and continued for the next 36 plus years. He retired from the Highway Department in January 1998 and moved to Wisconsin to a small acreage lot for him to “farm” again (minus the farm animals). He thoroughly enjoyed working in his “too small” workshop in the basement of his garage, and the endless yard work necessary to take care of the “mini farm” complete with wild berries and garden.


He married Mary Mortel, a South St. Paul gal, on October 5, 1968. Mary and Marv had purchased a cabin on the north shore of Prior Lake before they were married and using his builder skills, and the help of many friends and family, remodeled it to a year around home where they lived and brought home their first child, Tonya. A few years later they moved to a 10-acre lot near Stillwater and again using those builder skills, and the help of many friends and family, built their first home from the ground up. They brought home Nicolette (Nicky), their second child there. MN/DOT moved the family to Crookston in 1985 where they were active in the community for nearly 10 years as Tonya and Nicky grew and graduated from high school.


Mary and Marv loved to travel taking Tonya and Nicky on many trips across the U.S. and all southern Canadian Provinces. Following his retirement, and Mary’s a few years later, they continued their love of travel making spring and fall “theme” trips nearly every year. Their favorites included Route 66 from Illinois to California, the Bridges of Madison County, and traveling the Great River Road to New Orleans. When not on these sometimes month or more long trips, they would travel around beautiful Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan’s country sides marveling at the vibrant fall colors. Other times they would go on day trips and just “follow their nose wherever it goes” never knowing exactly what their destination was other than being home for bedtime. Many times, the destination turned out to be watching eagles along the Mississippi River and Nelson’s Creamery for an ice cream cone or Ellsworth for a bag of fresh cheese curds. The kind that squeaks when you bite them. Mary and Marv loved playing cards. They were competitive to the extent that they kept track of wins and losses throughout the year then started all over again the next year.


Marv will be remembered for his amazing sense of humor, building and fixing skills, his kind and generous heart, and his great weakness for OREO COOKIES. He was known to have a few every day with a glass of milk. He loved his family, that he could call friends, and his friends that he could call family, for he says, they were the ones that allowed him to really live. He lived well, loved much and laughed often, as it says on a plaque that has hung in their kitchen for many, many years. He always said, “Do not grieve nor be sad but celebrate his life”.


Marv will be deeply missed and dearly remembered by Mary, his beloved bride of fifty-three years, his children, Tonya and Nicky and 2 grandchildren, Turo who shared his love of Star Wars and Mia who inherited his sense of humor; many nieces, nephews, step nieces and nephews, and many cousins who are scattered all over the nation. And of special mention, the survivors of the Hiway Gang, a group of 14 friends who met while working at the highway department, married one another and remain friends to this day more than some 60 years later.


He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ken and his wife Kathy, sister Marilyn and her husband Bud, all uncles and aunts on both parent’s sides and several Twenge and Bates cousins. All of them had a great influence on how he grew up and who he was as a person.


When you see an eagle soaring through the sky, think of Marv as he has said he will be back as the majestic bird. Mia, his granddaughter, said, grandpa won’t be just any eagle…he’ll be a bald eagle.


Due to concerns with Covid, Marv’s Celebration of Life will be privately held. The memorial service will be livestreamed at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, follow this link for the livestream. For those who wish to make a memorial donation in Marv’s name, the family suggests the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota or the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.


Services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, (715)386-3725.


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One Response

  1. Greetings Mary and all your family,
    Having known and played with Marvin as a child, I mostly recall a fun time with him and his farm home exploring and discovering that world with him. I’ve always held a place in my heart and mind a fond memory of a unique, caring and good fiend in Marv. And I’ve never encountered another with his style of humor. He delighted me in his sincere and considerate ways.
    Marvin is and was a special person to me.
    I’ve always intended to come to Wisconsin to visit You two, and now I feel the loss for not doing so. I’m sorry and already feel the loss of Marvin, as I know You do profoundly.
    May we all be blessed with gentle thought as Marvin is and was.
    Care and Love, Lowell

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