Harlan C. Bates

1927 - 2013


In Loving Memory

August 7, 1927 – July 29, 2013

Walla Walla – Harlan C. Bates, 85, passed away July 29, 2013, at his home.

The youngest of two sons, Harlan was born August 7, 1927, in Provo, Utah, to Haskell and Alice Provonsha Bates. The family moved to Cedar City, Utah when he was in the third grade and he started playing the French horn in the fourth grade.

Two years later, he began playing in the junior high school band and orchestra and continued to participate in school music groups when the family returned to Provo. He later attended Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, where he played in the college band and orchestra and the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra.

He married Virginia Nielson in 1947. The couple adopted four children: Randall, Diane, Ryan and Dion. He and Virginia divorced in 1976.

From 1950 to 1953, he worked at the University of Utah Press at which time he was drafted into the US Army. He served for two years in the Medical Corps and during this time he played first chair horn in the 323rd Army Band in San Antonio, Texas.

Following his military service, the Bates family returned to Utah where he played in the Salt Lake Community Symphony Orchestra. In 1959, the family moved to Hawaii, where he played for a season in the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. In 1963, he taught the band programs at Hawaiian Mission Academy, Hawaiian Mission Elementary School, and Kailua Mission Elementary School, while also teaching classroom music.

The following year, the family moved to College Place, Washington, where Harlan taught all aspects of the music program at nearby Milton-Stateline Elementary School in Oregon. He also enrolled at Walla Walla University as a music major and would complete a Bachelor of Music degree in horn performance with a minor in music education.

In 1966, Harlan became a member of the Walla Walla Symphony where he would play for the next twenty years, eventually serving as principal chair of the horn section. He was a member of the Walla Walla Symphony woodwind quintet and chamber orchestra, playing as a soloist with the latter on two occasions.

Seven years after he started teaching at Milton-Stateline School, he was asked to serve as principal of the school in addition to continuing to teach all of the music. He would fill that dual role until his retirement in 1992.

On June 7, 1981, Harlan married Coral Gordon Provonsha in Walla Walla. Coral had four children from her first marriage. The ceremony was performed by Coral’s father, Elder A. J. Gordon. The couple was active together in music activities at the Milton SDA Church in addition to performing at other events. They enjoyed a very happy marriage.

Survivors include his beloved wife; his brother, Leon Bates; sons: Randy and Ryan Bates; daughters, Diane Hendry and Dion Bates; four step•children: Dr. Steve Provonsha, Terry Provonsha, Pam Hopkins and Renee Haynes; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The memorial service with military honors will be 3:00 p.m., Saturday, August 10, 2013, at the Milton Seventh-day Adventist Church, Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Milton-Stateline SDA School, Blue Mountain Television or a charity of donor’s choice through Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla, Washington 99362.

Family and friends are invited to share memories and sign the online guestbook at www.mountainview-colonialdewitt.com


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