Charlton—Ethel E. (Stienstra) Bates, age 90, formerly of Worcester and Auburn, passed away May 9, 2022 of natural causes. Born to Arthur and Dorothy (Reitsma) Stienstra in Harvey, Illinois, she was raised in Sutton, MA and graduated from Sutton High School. In addition to business courses, she studied dressmaking and worked in that field as well as in medical billing and office management.
Ethel and her beloved husband of 42 years, Harry W. Bates, raised their three children in Worcester. A devoted mother and homemaker, she volunteered with the Granite Street School Mothers Club for many years and cared for her and Harry's aging parents in their home. Harry died at home in 1993 after a long illness. She later married Rae Johnson and lived in Sutton on the shore of Lake Manchaug before his passing in 2011. She had been a longtime member of Temple Baptist Church in Cherry Valley, MA, where she sang in the choir, and she later attended First Baptist Church of Sutton. She generously opened her home to friends and family all throughout her life.
Ethel leaves her three children: Donna Bates-Tarrant (Jack) of Auburn, Steven Bates (Dawn) of Putnam, CT, and James Bates (Kim) of Douglas; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A granddaughter, Ashley Bates, predeceased her in 2013. She was predeceased by her siblings, Anne Taft of North Adams, MA, Arthur Stienstra of West Sand Lake, NY, Agnes Ebbeling of Uxbridge, MA, George Stienstra of Worcester, and Herman Steinstra of Clay City, Indiana. In addition to many friends, she is survived by her special companion, Norman Brunell, of Charlton.
An accomplished seamstress and avid reader, Ethel also enjoyed kayaking and many types of needlework. She could nurse any plant back to health and kept beautiful houseplants and gardens. She cherished time spent with her grandchildren and enjoyed travel in her later years, including cruises and trips to Florida. She had recently discovered the joy of painting with new friends at her home in Charlton. The family acknowledges with gratitude the many caregivers and friends at Overlook Healthcare Center who made Ethel's last months joyful and comfortable.
Funeral arrangements will be private. Lindquist-Lundin Funeral Home is directing.