Orlin "Bob" Lawrence CatesFebruary 10, 1929 ~ June 12, 2017 (age 88)
Orlin L. “Bob” Cates
February 10, 1929- June 12, 2017
Orlin “Bob” Cates peacefully passed away at Central Wyoming Hospice early in the morning on Monday, June 12, 2017. On Sunday, Bob was surrounded by family and friends who shared highlights and memories from his life of 88 years.
Bob was born in Ness City, Kansas in 1929; the fourth of five children to John and Rosa (Allen) Cates. During his lifetime Bob shared his many memories of growing up with a shared family bathtub, horrendous Kansas dust storms and antics with his siblings. After high school graduation in 1948, Bob became a meat cutter apprentice. In October of 1950, Bob enlisted into the United States Navy during the Korean War as an aviation ordinance airman USN-1. He served his country until he was honorably discharged in August 1954. Bob also shared many “cultural” stories with his family and friends from his time in Asia. Combined with his recollections of his childhood home and his tour of duty, Bob was beginning what was to become a very full life. He continued his career in meat cutting in Sterling, Co. when on a blind date he met the love of his life, Betty Heidrick. After a memorable first date duck hunting, both Bob and Betty were smitten. They married in Fort Morgan, Co on July 8, 1956. They were blessed with a daughter, Debra Jean in 1957. The little family moved to Denver & Boulder Co. so Bob could pursue upward mobility in his meat cutting career which would ultimately span over 52 years. His career in Casper began with employment at Branan's Foods followed by him establishing his own store in Mills called Bob's Meat Market.
When the Cates moved to Casper, Wy in 1966 Bob and Betty (and later Debra and her husband, Tim) began selfless service to their community as members of the Elks Lodge 1353. Bob formally joined the Elk’s during that same year and in 1997 became an Honorary Life Member. In the early years of Elkdom, Bob was Entertainment Chairman and subsequently held other titles as chair to Wyoming State Association as Elk’s National Foundation and Friends of West since the inception of the program. Bob has been a Casper Lodge Officer as “Tiler”
Bob’s passing leaves a devastated community who recognizes his and long fulfilling life. One of his Elk’s brothers was quoted as saying upon Bob’s passing that the Elks Lodge 1353 has lost a true legend that can never be replaced. Another of his Elk brothers recalls,” He and Betty danced the night away at the Lodge.”
In addition to Bob beginning his community service upon arrival in Casper, he and Betty bought a tiny trailer at space #2 at Alcova Lake. There the Cates and family members from across the United States made lasting memories of adventure and fun! When Bob and Betty weren’t enjoying the Elks and the lake, they made many new friends on their 28 cruises together.
Preceded in death was Betty Cates, his parents, two sisters and a brother, nephews and great granddaughter, Savana.
Bob is survived by his daughter, Debra and her husband, Tim Smith; grandson Travis Smith and his wife Tessi and two great granddaughters Rossi and Hollin; granddaughter Kaila Smith and great grandson Damian Park. Bob is also survived by a brother Gerald Cates. He leaves nieces and nephews Allison Domer, Ann Sharf, David Bond, Mark Bond, Carolyn Millar, Deetra and Dean Cates. Bob is also survived by Karla Williams Noonan (John) and Brad Williams (Linda Shirley).
Funeral services will be conducted by Bustard’s Funeral Directors at the Elk’s Lodge at 108 E. 7th Street, Casper, Wy. At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday June 17 in the “Bob Cates Family Ballroom”. Interment will immediately follow at Highland Cemetery including full military honors. Visitation will be held Friday, June 16 at Bustard’s from 5:00-7:00 pm.
Donations may be made to Casper Elks Lodge 1353 or Central Wyoming Hospice in Bob’s name.
Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions
319 S. Wilson, Casper WY 82601
Casper Elks Lodge 1353
108 E. 7th Street, Casper WY 82601
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