Vail Daily obituary: William Harold ‘Billy’ Bates, 1967-2016 | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily obituary: William Harold ‘Billy’ Bates, 1967-2016

William Harold "Billy" Bates, 49, died unexpectedly on July 19, 2016, in Aurora.

Billy was born to William C. and Katherine Rose (Brewington) Bates on April 10, 1967, in Pekin, Illinois. He attended elementary and high school in Colorado and Idaho, graduating from Smoky Hill High School in 1985. Billy was active in football and wrestling in high school but his true love was BMX biking. After graduation, Billy attended the University of Colorado and Metro State University.

Billy grew up in the mountains of Colorado and Idaho. His love of the outdoor life started early. Billy picked the Vail Valley as his home. He skied every chance he got, loved volunteer work on Vail Mountain, played golf on some of the finest courses around, mountain-biked, camped and traveled whenever possible. His smiling personality and zest for life made him a perfect fit for the hospitality industry. Whether it was managing the restaurant, bartending or serving tables he was gracious and able to connect with people from across the world. His life was not without struggles, but Billy lived in the moment and could always be found surrounded by friends, laughter and music.

Billy will be deeply missed by friends and family. He is survived by his father, William C. Bates; sister Carrie Jean (Bates) Huff; brother-in-law Keith Alex Huff; two nieces, Kristin Nicole Huff and Karli Ann Huff; and extended family in Idaho, Nevada, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, New Jersey and Utah. Billy's belief in family extended to his friends in the Vail Valley, Idaho and beyond. Billy was preceded in death by his mother, Kathy.

A memorial celebration is planned for 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Horan and McConaty Funeral Home in Aurora. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Denver Dumb Friends League, Vail Avalanche Rescue Dogs or Vail Mountain Rescue Group.