Margaret Bates, co-owner of iconic Bates Nut Farm, dies age 89
Margaret and her husband James.
August 20, 2013Longtime Valley Center resident Margaret Bates, died last week. She was 89.
She was born Nov. 2, 1923 in Albuquerque, N.M., the sixth child of John and Martha Dawes. Eight years later the Dawes family moved to Escondido and Margaret met James Bates at Escondido High School. They married in 1942 and lived at the Walnut Slope Ranch, now Bates Nut Farm.
Margaret and James raised four children, Dennis, Diana, Kathy and Gayle. Margaret sold Rawleigh Products, a company that makes spices, liniments and salves. She drove around to her customers in North County and the Backcountry in the early 1950s.
She co-owned and worked on the sorting belt at Bates Nut Farm and joined the family during walnut harvesting time. The store would sell the walnut meat to stores and shells were spread on the driveway to keep the dust down. According to one member of the family the Bates' were the only family in the area who had a driveway of crushed walnut shells.
Mrs. Bates was also VC 4-H club leader. She taught sewing and cooking classes when those were 4-H projects. That's how her daughter, Kathy Bates Lande, learned how to can. She was noted for the excellence of her Navel and Valencia oranges. Rube Nelson's market in Escondido used to buy them and people still tell the family that she grew the best oranges they ever ate.
She was also a member of the Chuck Wagon Club, Elks Club and the Grasshopper's Club.
Survivors include her husband of 71 years, James Bates and her children, Dennis (Leo) of Ramon, Diana Anderson of Santa Rosa, Kathy Lande of Palomar Mountain, Gayle & Marianne Bates of San Diego; nine grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
The family plans to have a celebration of Margaret Bates's 90th birthday on Nov. 2, 11 a.m. by the oak tree on Bates Nut Farm. They told The Roadrunner, "Margaret was a kind, loving and generous person with an infectious laugh and she was loved by all. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends."