Michael Don Bates, 66 - Watauga, Texas

Michael Don Bates, 66, of Watauga Texas, formerly of Calhoun County West Virginia, died Wednesday, February 3, 2010, after a long battle with cancer

Born in Clarksburg, WV in 1943, he was the son of the late Don and India Hunter Bates.

He attended West Virginia University and Glenville State College.

Mike was in the US Army, the Vietnam War from March 1967 to March 1971. A helicopter pilot, he received seven Distinguished Flying Crosses.

He was a member of the Mensa Society, the 11th Armored Cavalry's Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.

Following discharge, he went to Alaska, and flew bush helicopter for copper companies, the Alaskan pipeline and tourists. He was first married to the former Terry D'Orazio of Grantsville.

In 1974 he crashed a helicopter 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and was down for three days. He was ready to start walking out when he was rescued.

Mike was a computer software developer, starting early in the computer world. He developed and sold software beginning with Tandy in the 1970's and then with IBM PC's in the 1980's.

He is survived by his wife Linda Bates of Watauga; sons, William Joseph Chapman (Kristie) of Fort Worth Texas and David Bradley (April) of Tampa Florida; daughters, Sara Bates and Maria Bates both of Tampa; Lori Silva (Paulo) of Parkersburg WV and Lynn Smith (Chris) of Point Pleasant WV; sister, Elizabeth (Liz) Ferrell of Grantsville WV; brother, Bruce Bates of Parkersburg.

Also surviving are grandchildren, Haley Lynn Chapman, Madyson and Steel Bradley, Keisha, Terrell and Dee Smith, and Marcus Bates; nephews and nieces, Nikki, Michael, and Ryan Bates of Spencer, WV and Rob, Scott, Rich Ferrell of Grantsville.

Memorial services will be held Sunday, February 14, at First United Methodist Church, Bedford Texas.

A special tribute to Mike Bates will be published.