Cover photo for Shirley M. Bates's Obituary
Shirley M. Bates Profile Photo
1931 Shirley 2024

Shirley M. Bates

December 19, 1931 — January 12, 2024

Rawlins, Wyoming

Shirley Marie Keldsen Bates passed away peacefully in her home on January 12, 2024 at the age of 92.  Her longevity on this earth truly blessed those who survived her.  The end of a long family joke but she finally celebrated her “last” holiday.

Shirley was born December 19, 1931, in Rawlins, WY to Chris and Myrtle Keldsen.

A lifelong resident of Rawlins, minus a short amount of time that was spent in Cheyenne, WY at the Air Force base with her husband JR “Bob” Bates. She attended Rawlins High School where she was proudly a baton twirling drum majorette and attended the University of Wyoming before marrying Bob Bates on November 1st, 1952.  They had four children Deborah Engstrom, Shane Bates, Guy Bates, and John Bates Jr.

In her younger years, the Bates family made a homestead in the Little Snake River Valley, where Bob was a rancher and Shirley spent her summers raising their children and creating many memories. She was a member of the Wyoming Woolgrowers Association alongside Bob.  She and Bob also spent several years as members of the Seminoe Boat Club, there they had countless friends, spent hours entertaining, caught many fish, and hosted many gatherings.  Shirley had a special ability to make everyone feel welcome, made sure laughter was always involved and guests would never leave hungry.  She was well known for her fried chicken, potato salad, and apple pie.

She followed and supported her husband in his many ventures, which also led to her many volunteer hours to the Korein Shrine Club, Daughters of the Nile, as well as the None Choir.  She was also a member of PEO and has always been an active member of the church.   Her most recent passion was twenty-plus years of volunteering at the Wee Basket gift shop and the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County Auxiliary.

The most important thing to her was the love of her family and friends.  She is survived by her children; Deborah Engstrom (Roger Schneider) of Rawlins, WY, Shane Bates (Katie) of Phoenix, AZ, Guy Bates of Rawlins, WY, and John Bates Jr. (Wendy) of Chandler, AZ.  Her grandchildren John Engstrom (Lisa), Misty Dibble (Chris), Drew Engstrom, Holly Espinoza (Hector), Briana Imus (Harry), Valerie Vazquez (Jesus) Jordan Burke (Noah), Noah Bates, Abigail Bates, Garth Harris, Tobi Northcutt, Morgan Northcutt, Jaxon Bates. She also loved her many great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a special friend Don Koeneke.


In lieu of flowers please make all donations to The Memorial Hospital of Carbon County Auxiliary "Wee Basket".

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley M. Bates, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Rawlins Cooperative Parish

800 23rd St, Rawlins, WY 82301

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