Hundreds gather to celebrate Bud Gates
EAGLE — Hundreds came to say goodbye Monday to George “Bud” Gates: husband, father, rancher, public servant and unabashed Christian.
They prayed, they sang —“What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.” They laughed, they cried, they broke bread together — all the things families do when they celebrate.
CARRYING ON BUD’S LEGACY
The classic song, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” rolled through hearts and heads at the service. Yes it will, and here’s why.
Bud and Marge Gates love God, love each other and love their progeny: five children, 15 grand children and 27 great-grandchildren — upon further review, one of the five children announced the total was now 28 great-grandchildren, the latest born at 5 a.m. Monday.
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Number 27 was Tanisha’s new son, Bud’s great grandson and Kip’s grandson. When Tanisha asked if she could name her son George, after her grandfather, Bud wept and said yes.
BUD’S TIME AS A COMMISSIONER
It seems right that the memorial was in the rodeo arena that he voted for during his 12-year stint as a county commissioner. When they were county commissioners, Bud and Johnnette Phillips were from opposite sides of the political aisle in a time when you could cross it with a handshake. It wasn’t the chasm it is today.
They decided the fairgrounds needed new grandstands, so they shook hands and approved it. The night of the first event, a professional bull riders competition, it poured rain on beleaguered bovines and cowboys. The capacity crowd, though, was dry, and decided those grandstands might be the best use of taxpayer dollars ever.
“When he was done for the day as a county commissioner, he sat back in his chair and relaxed. He knew the decisions he had made that day were for the best interests of the people of Eagle County and the state of Colorado,” said his son Kip.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@ vaildaily.com.