U mourns death of retired prof

Heather Fors

Jerry Gates’ spirituality showed more in his life than in his words.
“He walked the walk as opposed to talking the talk,” said Barbara Foster, who was a friend and co-worker of Gates, the retired University professor who died Jan. 24.
Gates, 71, died after being hit by a car on U.S. Highway 169. His wife, Marty Gates, said he had been ice-fishing with a friend. He had decided to walk on the road rather than risk spilling his minnows by taking an icy walking path, she said.
During his 44 years in the University’s General College, Gates taught arts and humanities. He retired four years ago.
Foster, who had taken Gates’ classes, said he encouraged his students in all of their endeavors. In his art classes Gates could find nice ways of critiquing even the worst student projects, she added.
He always let others express their ideas without being judgmental. Diane Wartchow, who worked with Gates, said he never preached and was understanding even when asked for advice.
“He was special to all of us for different reasons,” said Nancy Hugg, who worked with him for 12 years. She said Gates had a knack for making everyone feel special, no matter what their position.
His interest in community improvement was evident in his co-founding of the University’s Student Parent HELP Center, established for single parents attending school. He began lobbying for grant support for the program in 1966 and continued to help it thrive as director until 1988.
In 1989, Gates received the Alfred Vaughn Services Award for outstanding services in General College. He also received the H.T. Morse-Amoco Award in 1981 for his outstanding contribution to undergraduate studies.
He is survived by Marty Gates, his wife of 47 years, three children and seven grandchildren. Gates said the hundreds of people from the University at the funeral was a statement of her husband’s popularity.