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Linda Darline Pilley Bates, amazing woman, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, went home to be with Jesus on Aug. 13, 2021, at 9:03 p.m. We’re fairly certain that Jesus had to personally escort her; otherwise, she wouldn’t have gone.

Linda was born on Aug. 11, 1944, in Stamford, Texas, to J.D. and Elizabeth Pilley. She married Kenneth Bates on May 4, 1963, at First Methodist Church in Odessa. They started out their lives in Crane, Texas. Then, they moved to Dalhart to work on a farm. Afterward, they moved to Odessa and Gardendale before buying a farm and moving to St. Elizabeth, Missouri.

From 1973 to 1986, Linda and Kenneth lived in St. Elizabeth, where most of their children were born. Linda helped work on the family farm and even drove a bus for the St. Elizabeth school district. In 1986, the Bates family moved to Llano, Texas, and still reside there today.

Linda had seven children, 22 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, all of whom are brilliant, stunningly handsome/beautiful, and completely incapable of loading the dishwasher correctly (the kids, not the grands or greats. The grands and greats would never be asked to do a task so unworthy of their perfection).

Linda was many things, but a wallflower wasn’t one of them. One of her proudest accomplishments was being the first chair clarinet player in the Odessa High School Band. She treated her family to stories of her glory days on a bimonthly basis, lest they forget.

She also loved working in her flowerbeds and on her lawn. On spring and summer mornings and evenings, you would find her manually watering her flowers and yard with a water hose while six brand new sprinklers rusted on the porch.

Linda was an employee at the Llano Post Office for over 20 years. She loved working and she loved her job. Whenever she would complain (like everyone does about their job), we would tell her to retire. Linda would emphatically refuse; she loved all of her customers and would tell us all about who she’d helped at the counter. We also know way more about Terry Behrns than he probably wants us to (she loved you, Terry).

Linda was an excellent cook as well. Her biscuits, homemade ranch dressing, and Thanksgiving stuffing were praised long after the meals had finished. No one made comfort food like her. If her kids or grandkids had a favorite meal or dessert, she would make it. And you could always tell company was coming when you saw peanut butter in the cabinet and strawberry jelly in the fridge.

Linda was the best mother we could have hoped for. She kept us in line (flyswatters may have been involved), always told us the unvarnished truth, and taught us that we could do whatever we wanted in life as long as we were willing to work hard. She expected 100 percent from us, and she got it, or else.

Granny Bates was an entirely different person, however. Her grandbabies were absolute perfection and could do no wrong. They also could do no laundry, sweep no floors, or do no dishes. Those tasks were for their parents. Granny always had ice cream, chocolate syrup, some kind of cookie, and soda pop available for the grandkids. If for some crazy reason she didn’t have their favorites, Granny would immediately jump in her car and head to H-E-B. She loved to feed her family.

Upon her arrival in Heaven, Linda was greeted by her parents, J.D. and Elizabeth Pilley, and her in-laws, Byrl Bates and Pauline Callaway.

She leaves behind her husband Kenneth Bates; her son and daughter-in-law Dr. Corey and Christina Bates of Chetopa, Kansas; her son and daughter-in-law Dr. Dean and Stacey Bates of Holts Summit, Missouri; her son Lance Bates of Llano; her daughter Gina Blackmon of Llano; her daughter and son-in-law Cindy and Jason Alford of Chetopa, Kansas; her son and daughter-in-law Charley and Samantha Bates of San Marcos, Texas; and her son and daughter-in-law Chris and Denae Bates of Llano. She also leaves her sister, Brenda Hinton of De Leon. Her grandchildren are Austin, Jessica, Brandon, Jeremy, Zachary (Zach), Kathleen, Courtney, Kenneth (Kenny Paul), Kaitlyn, Deanna, Nathan, Alexis, Hannah, Aaron, Jordan, Neil, David, Alison, Harper, Lilly, June, and Samson. Her great-grandchildren are Mason, Lexi, Macey Rae, Jaylen, Marissa, Lincoln, and Daxton (Dax). To save you the time of counting, that’s a total of 43 people that have to figure out how in the world they’re going to live without Linda Darline Pilley Bates.

Linda will be cremated and her ashes will be buried at Board Branch Cemetery in Lone Grove, Texas. Her celebration of life ceremony will be delayed until later on this fall.

Funeral arrangements made under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Homes Inc. of Llano, Texas. Email condolences may be sent to whhfuneral1@verizon.net.