Robert (Bob) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Margaret Pride McWhinney and Ewan Duncan Gates. He loved playing sandlot baseball with the neighbor kids and loved discussing the baseball legends of his time that they heard about on the radio, such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. Later, he was excited when the Colorado Rockies franchise started up in Denver, attending many games. Bob spent many years watching his father, Ewan, play soccer for the City teams at the Salt Lake Fairgrounds, which they would ride the bus as no one had a car or a driver’s license in his family. After working at the neighborhood grocery store as a teenager, he purchased the first car in the family, a 1934 Ford, which his father made him return.
As a young man he also worked at his best friend Ken’s father’s shop fixing radios and testing radio tubes. He has many stories about taking Ken’s 1935 Ford Coupe to their favorite ski area, Alta. One such story he recalls is when the Dean of Boys drove the school bus up to the ski area to retrieve 21 truant boys. The boys were not too concerned about school that winter as most would be drafted soon.
When he was 16, Bob went to Long Beach, California with friends to work in the shipyards as the war was on and workers were needed. As they were about to start their jobs, the war ended with great jubilation, with shouts of victory and flags waving from the buildings. The sailors ran off of the newly arrived ships and proceeded to fill the streets and bars. The boys were in the midst of one of the largest and most historical celebrations of the century. The next morning there were lines of unemployed men winding through the shipyards, thus the 5 young men never worked in California that summer. Our dad spent his last nickel on ice cream in Las Vegas on their way home where they finished their senior year of high school. The following summer, dad drove to Alaska with Ken and worked for a company that surfaced-mined gold and he also worked on an air field called the “26-mile”.
He was later drafted in the army where his 2nd Armored Division was loaded up on a ship where they all thought they were going to Korea, but felt fortunate that they shipped out to Germany. He became a radio operator, due to his radio background, assigned to different places all around Germany, wherever American Forces were stationed. While on his leave time he toured Europe and Great Britain, meeting many of his Scottish relatives. Recently, he was able to participate in the Veteran’s Honor Flight program, traveling to Washington, D.C. accompanied by his grandson, Tony.
Upon discharge, he moved to Denver where he worked for Anheuser Busch and continued his passion for skiing where he met his future wife Genevieve. They were on the ski patrol at Berthoud Pass Ski Area and passed along their passion for the outdoors to their children. Bob had several entrepreneurial ventures and owned and operated a restaurant and janitorial supply business in the Denver area, Commercial Sanitary Labs, for over 35 years, where his customers and vendors became his friends.
Bob and Genevieve were married for 68 years, raising their four children in Arvada in the house they purchased in 1960.
Bob is survived by children Robert M. Gates (Dona Rae), Geraldine Gates Irvin (Brien), Karen Miller (Mark), Roxanne Gates Daley (Sean). Grandchildren Tyler Baltz (Haley), Andre Gates (Shannon), Tony Baltz (Lindsey), Kaitlin Daley, Hannah Daley (Ian), Shannon Daley, Kyle Irvin, Luke Irvin, Maren Irvin. Great grandchildren Harper and Shay Baltz, Kylee and Alann Gates, Tanner and Maia Baltz.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife Genevieve who passed on November 21 of this year, his sister Janet and his brother Alan.
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In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Collier Lutheran Hospice at: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/foundation/lutheran-foundation/donate Be sure to select Hospice/Palliative Care in the designation drop-down menu.