Robert W. Bates
| Robert Wayne Bates|
|Born|| May 23, 1941 |
Forest Hill, Rapides Parish
|Died|| January 7, 2020 (aged 78)|
|Spouse|| Callie Faye Opry Bates|
Robert Wayne Bates, I (May 23, 1941 – January 7, 2020), was an horticultural nurseryman in Forest Hill in south Rapides Parish, Louisiana, who was an agent of the United States Secret Service under U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford. He further provided security for Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, and former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Bates was an only child born in Forest Hill and reared by a single mother, the former Willie Fulmer (1898-1984), in "a shotgun house with a dirt-floored kitchen," location unavailable. He graduated from Forest Hill High School and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In 1965, at the age of twenty-four, joined the Secret Service and was posted at the White House. He provided security for the Johnson and Nixon daughters while they were college students. He was with Nixon in the 1972 trip to China. He ended his Secret Service career in 1976 as the agent in charge in the field office in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. Bates described those whom he protected as "just people, like you and me" who obtain high political office.
After his eleven years in the Secret Service, Bates returned to Forest Hill, where he operated Robert Bates Nursery, in the commercial nursery complex south of Alexandria. One of Bates' fellow nurserymen in Forest Hill was Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde Cecil Holloway (1943-2016), a Republican who had held Louisiana's 8th congressional district seat from 1987 to 1993 (since disbanded).
On November 16, 1991, Bates was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the District 29 seat in the Louisiana State Senate. He lost to the incumbent Democrat Joe McPherson, then of Pineville and later of Woodworth to the north of Bates' Forest Hill. McPherson received 23,428 votes (56.8 percent) to Bates' 17,819 (43.2 percent). Three other Democratic candidates, including state Representative Charles Roland Herring (born 1945), then of Alexandria, and singer Jay Chevalier, had been eliminated in the primary election held earlier on October 19.
Bates and his wife, the former Callie Faye Opry (born 1967), together operated the nursery in Forest Hill. He has a son, Robert Bates, II (born 1993), and two "honorary sons," David Betchley and Craig Doyle. Bates died of a lengthy illness at the age of seventy-eight.
In 2005, Bates was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. Coincidentally, Clyde Holloway defeated Joe McPherson in a special election in 2009 for the Public Service Commission but, unlike Bates, has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- Robert Bates obituary. Everhere.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2020.
- Robert Bates. Mylife.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2020.
- Tom Kelly (January 2005). Winnfield opens Civic Center with Hall of Fame event: Renovated forestry building is modern, ready to serve for years into the future. The Piney Woods Journal. Retrieved on December 3, 2013; no longer on-line.
- Robert Wayne Bates, I. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on January 10l, 2020.
- Willie Fulmer Bates. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2020.
- Robert Bates' Nursery. manta.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2020.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 16, 1991.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
- 2005 inductees of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. lapoliticalmuseum.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2020.