“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies….Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness….Her children arise up and call her blessed.” Geraldene Davis Bates passed peacefully and gracefully to her eternal home on Nov. 18, surrounded by the love of her family. It is fitting that she went to be with her Lord and beloved parents on Sunday, a day of joy and rest; and during the week of Thanksgiving, as she possessed a heart of gratitude and lived life with a perpetual song of thanks.

She was born July 6, 1938, in Orange, to William Edes “Bud” and Lucille (Lormand) Davis. Her family and friends are thankful for the example she set in embodying her Christian faith by loving all who were fortunate enough to cross her path. She saw no distinction in social class, status, race, age, gender, or creed. She acted as Christ taught and cared for the sinners and saints alike, although she did show a mild preference for the “sinners.” She rooted for the underdog and showed special tenderness to those who were struggling through life’s challenges.

Her greatest gift was to naturally see worth and value in every human being and somehow reflect it back to them through the mirror of a pure and loving heart. She saw God in every soul she encountered. Geraldene lived a life of thankfulness and found joy in simple pleasures: tending flowers, sipping coffee, attending children’s birthday parties, dancing a waltz, helping friends, putting on something shiny, clipping and mailing newspaper articles, playing Scrabble, attending church, cooking gumbo, singing karaoke, and of course, delivering a perfectly-timed punchline.

She especially loved her daily routine of reading, writing, and study. Geraldene possessed a passion for learning. Her study space made a perfect semi-circle around her favorite spot, the worn and well-used corner of her cozy sofa. She found contentment in beginning her day surrounded by her laptop, coffee cup, Bible, journal, periodicals, reading glasses, and stacks of books.

Her friends and family are most thankful that she put her faithful study into practice. For as passionate as she was about learning, she was even more passionate about people. She happily put down her Bible or pen if someone needed a ride, a meal, a dollar, a hug, a shoulder, a laugh. Geraldene felt it an honor to help a person in need. She did not judge, but merely saw a need and joyfully responded to it. For that, all who knew her are eternally thankful.

Preceded in death by her parents and several beloved aunts and uncles, Geraldene will remain in the hearts of her children, DeLisa Bates, Kelli Bates, Brandon Bates; granddaughter Jordan Bates; her close friend, former husband and father of her children, C. Delle Bates; sisters Dottie Droddy, Carolyn Gorby, Maggie Reynolds, all of Orange; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

The family will receive friends for visitation from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.

A Celebration of Thanksgiving for Geraldene’s life will be held at 10:00 AM Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Community Church in Orange.