The Obit For Bill Gates

William 'Bill' C. Gates professional baseball pitcher 6/17/2008

BASKING RIDGE — William "Bill" C. Gates, age 89, of Basking Ridge, passed away Monday (June 16, 2008). Born in Baltimore, Md., to Albert and Antoinette Gates, he and his family moved to Syracuse, N.Y. in 1929.

During his high school years he played hockey, baseball and football and received an "Outstanding Goalie" trophy, an All-City award as a pitcher, and honorable mention for quarterback. In 1939 Gates was signed by the Cincinnati Reds and later pitched for Syracuse in the International League in Batavia, N.Y., and Reading, Pa.

Bill volunteered for army military service in December 1940. While serving at Fort Bragg, N.C., he met his future wife, Alice McCutchen. Bill was honored as the "Army's Strikeout King." He threw two consecutive no-hitters, striking out 22 batters. As a first sergeant, Gates participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day plus three under General Patton's Army. He received battle stars for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Germany, Central Europe and Ardennes. After the Battle of the Bulge, Gates received a commission to lieutenant and the Bronze Star.

After the war he continued his professional baseball career pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs and Columbus, S.C., a Cincinnati Reds AA minor league team. In 10 years of professional baseball he amassed a record of 75-32. He was also a pitching coach and coached for the Milwaukee Braves Rookie Camp and managed at Rome and Auburn, N.Y.

Prior to retiring in 1982, Bill was plant and sales manager for the Arlen Trophy Co. in North Plainfield. He served as president of the Syracuse Optimist Club in 1953 to 1954 and helped form the local Little League Baseball in North Syracuse. In addition, he was a member of a variety of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts. Gates loved golf and enjoyed a 10 handicap for over 45 years. He was the Somerset County Senior Champion for three years.

Bill's wife, Alice of 49 years, preceded him in death in 1991.

He is survived by four children, Bill Jr. of Dublin, Ohio, Ann of Stirling, Dan of Warren, and Barbara of Brodheadville, Pa.; nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; two brothers, Albert of Massachusetts, Robert of New York (and a brother, Jack of New York, who predeceased him); and his companion of the last 12 years, Emily Cullen.

A funeral Mass will be offered 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Shrine of St. Joseph, Stirling. Interment will follow at St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Valley Memorial Funeral Home, 1012 Valley Road, Gillette. For information and directions, visit