Mary Lou Bates (Gigi), 87, passed away Monday, May 29, 2023, at her home in Searcy surrounded by people that loved her dearly. She was born December 28, 1935, in Judsonia to the late Arthur and Emmaline (Roach) Stimbo.
She is survived by her son, Mick Bates, and wife Cindy; daughter, Gayle Hunt, and husband Justin; 7 grandchildren, Corey Bates, Ashly Maybrey (Joey), Jessica Crosby (Justin), Jake Bates, Brandi Erickson (Chris), Levi Bates and Jozee Hunt; 13 great-grandchildren; a brother, Junior Stimbo (Linda) and two sisters, Sandra Barber and Donna Shaver.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, William Howard Bates; her son, Randy Bates and four siblings, Opal Stimbo, Margaret Ann Stimbo, Carl Stimbo, and Ronald Stimbo.
After graduating from Judsonia High school in 1953, she ventured out with her favorite cousin Doris to seek their fortunes in Kokomo, IN. What they found instead, were life-long husbands. She married Howard on April 19th, 1958. They raised their 3 children there until his passing in 1985, but he remained the love of her life until her last breath.
Mary Lou spent many years as a homemaker serving her family every day. Her favorite thing was to cook big meals and would never sit or eat until everyone else was fed. She was famous for her chicken and dumplings and served hundreds of others at both Rocky Point Baptist Church and 1st Landmark Missionary Baptist church where she was a long-time member of both.
She returned to AR in 1986 to care for her parents and be with her sisters and brothers here until grandkids drew her back to IN for a few more years. In 2004, she settled back in Searcy and helped raise her last special girl. She was a wonderful Gigi to them all and many others who had the privilege of being held and loved on by her. She fiercely loved her children, grandkids, siblings, and many special nieces and nephews, but most importantly she loved her Jesus first. We all have no doubt that on Monday she heard "well done my good and faithful servant."
Visitation will be held Monday, June 5, 2023, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Services will be conducted, at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, June 6th at the Searcy McEuen Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow in the Providence Cemetery.
Arrangements entrusted to Searcy McEuen Funeral Home.
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