American Patriotic 11
Official Obituary of

Alan Graham Bates

March 17, 1928 ~ March 7, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Alan Bates Obituary

Alan Graham Bates passed away peacefully at this home on March 7, 2024.  He was just 10 days short of his 96th birthday. He was born on March 17, 1928, an only child to Dorothy and Edward Bates in Newton, Massachusetts.

His formative years were there in Newton. He attended Boston College where he majored in chemical engineering and was active in the college band, playing clarinet.

He subsequently served in the Army/Airforce where his clarinet skills allowed him to play in the AAF band.  Upon leaving the service, he used the GI Bill to fund his Masters at M.I.T in 1951.

Part of procuring his Masters involved further studies at the now famous Oak Ridge Nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where he not only unknowingly worked on the Manhattan Project, but would come to meet his future wife, then Rella Pauline Murr, who was one of the now historic women of Atomic City.

Their courtship was brief, as they both knew they had found their soulmate, and were married three months later on June 9, 1951 .  They had two children, Stephanie Lynn and Douglas Graham.

They moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he worked for Atlas Chemical as an agricultural engineer, which then became ICI America.   He held the position of Vice President until an early retirement. Headhunters then hired Alan as President of a biotech start-up company in Canada, where he would commute home on the weekends.

They built a new house in Hockessin, Delaware in 1966, where he and his wife enjoyed gardening, including growing fresh fruit and vegetables. He would chop wood for the fireplace, enjoy making homemade ice cream in the summer, built the “world largest” tire swing, enjoyed the family annual trip to find that perfect Christmas tree to chop down, and even used his engineering skills to design and build a treehouse that moved with the wind in the trees for his son, Douglas. Oh and he made a mean peanut brittle at Christmas time.  He was also know for his yummy cheese fondue which became a Christmas Eve tradition.

Alan, and the family, was always active in their home church, Limestone Presbyterian. As charter members he was also an elder in the church. He and his daughter sang in the choir and, as a family, were rooted in faith.

He always encouraged music making in the house, and his children not only enjoyed playing the piano and singing, but have subsequently made their careers in music.

Besides continuing to make his own music (a lifelong passion), playing the clarinet and saxophone with quartets and various local events, Alan was also a lifelong hobbyist and collector. After first collecting coins, he went on to collect antique wooden carpentry planes, and then found his niche collecting antique harmonicas becoming one of the largest collections in the world. His generous nature led him to eventually donate his entire collection to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, where it still exists today as the “Alan Bates Collection”.

 Upon moving to Jenners Pond Retirement Community in West Grove, PA, he spent years, (with the help of his wife, Rella), clearing new walking trails, planting trees and flowers to create a series of beautiful nature walks, labeling the various trees and plants for all to enjoy. He would then come to chair the landscape committee there.

Alan and Rella were avid travelers and loved their yearly trips to Sedona where they would invite the entire family for a week of hiking and taking in the red rock scenery.

He is predeceased by his loving wife, Rella, who passed away three years ago, and enjoyed spending time with his son and daughter and her two grandchildren, Cambia and Cody, and Cambia’s daughter (his great granddaughter) named after Cambia’s grandmother and his wife, Rella.

A man of utmost generosity, Alan leaves behind a rare legacy of kindness and integrity that have touched many lives.

“Your legacy on this planet when you leave is how many hearts you touched” -Brandon Lee

Services and burial will be held privately.

To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, please visit  

Arrangements by the Foulk Funeral Home, West Grove, PA

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