Billy Joe Cates
Billy Joe Allen Cates, 84, a resident of Carter County, all his life, passed from this life peacefully, with his family attending, while in Johnson City Medical Center, following an extended illness on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Mr. Cates was preceded in death by his wife, Sallie; a son Joel; and his mother and father.
He is survived by five living children, Bobbie Sue Williams (husband Dennis), Lonnie Dale Cates (wife Doris), Rick Cates (wife Jill), Juanita Cates Nidiffer (husband Brent) and Joyce Ann McWatters (husband Johnny). He had nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Mr. Cates attended Hopson Elementary until withdrawing to help support his farming family. He married Sallie Matheson, August 16, 1956, went to work at a sawmill, farming and later would spend 25 years at Paty Lumber Company. While there he delivered a colossal amount of materials to configure homes and shaped buildings that are located on Beech and Sugar Mountain. Bill and Sallie raised six children and taught them to work hard, love God, nature, and others. Mostly, to be proud of their Appalachian heritage. He found joy and was grateful in about everything. In his younger days he enjoyed, fishing, hunting and wildcrafting in the woods.
He was fun, quick witted, bigger than life, a mechanic extraordinaire, humble, hospitable, charitable, one who was loved by all. A gentleman, as my sister-in-law remarked. He loved Jesus, his large family and life itself. We your family will miss the way you lit up a room, with your whimsical looks and advantageous personality. Bill was the primary caregiver of his invalid wife for more than 15 years. He was proud to the gills of all his grandchildren. Some called him Wild Bill, Pa,’ others Poppy. Nevertheless, all of them loved him. His light and spirit will forever live in each of us, his family. May we continue to empower his Appalachian legacy forward in all that we are and all that we do.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, that anyone wanting to honor or remember Bill, may make donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. The family also wishes to acknowledge gratefulness and appreciation for anyone and all who provided care, emotional, financial support, food, condolences, and friendship to our family. The Celebration of Life service for Mr. Cates will be held Sunday, August 16, at The Roan Mountain United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. in an outdoor service. Due to COVID-19 virus precautions, the family humbly requests that the service be open to family members only. Friends and family wishing to pay respects or get in touch with family members may do so by sending cards, calls, text or plan a visit in the future. For a directory of family numbers or addresses, you may call 423-707-4514.