Anthony Allyn “Tony” Gates, of Hensley, AR, passed away on October 28, 2023, after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Tony was born and raised in Crossett, AR, the great grandson of E.W. “Cap” Gates, one of the cofounders of the Crossett Lumber Company and the original community of Crossett. Tony was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Crossett.
Tony was a decorated veteran, having proudly served in the United States Air Force from Mar 1960 to Jan 1979 retiring with the rank of Major. During his USAF career, he piloted the B-52 Stratofortress, the supersonic B-58 Hustler and finished his service in the CH-53 “Jolly Green Giant” helicopter. He was a true hero having been awarded numerous medals and citations, including 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses. During the Vietnam War, his was one of 5 helicopters that performed the largest evacuation of the Southeast Asian conflict when they airlifted 132 American and Vietnamese out of Quang Tri.
As a young boy, Tony loved flying and was inspired by his uncle Billy, a pilot and veteran of WWII and Korea. So, as early as his mom would allow, he started taking flying lessons, joined the Civil Air Patrol and got his pilot’s license before he was able to drive, at the age of 14! Flying was truly the passion of his life and he was lucky to be able to do that in his career and throughout his life. After his 20-year career in the Air Force he flew as a private pilot and owned his own airplane, flying as often as he could to see his grandchildren and family.
Tony’s other passion was golf. He played regularly throughout his life and played on some of the world’s great golf courses, like St. Andrew’s in Scotland, Aldeburgh Golf Club near his home in England and Pebble Beach in California. Tony was not only an avid golfer but a good one. During the 20+ years he lived in Hotchkiss, CO, he and his buddies played as often as they could, regardless of weather and never let a little thing like snow get in their way!
Tony was a man of strong Christian faith serving regularly in the roles of Deacon and Sunday School teacher. Faith and family were the most important things in his life. He was a loving and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, and his family knew they could always count on him to be there when they needed support. He was a selfless and giving person and a true gentleman who was always ready to help those in need.
Tony is survived by his daughter Rose Anne Cato (Brett); daughter Robin Ducatillon (Regis); grandsons Miles Ducatillon, Luc Ducatillon, and Jac Ducatillon; sister Rose Roan; sister Ellen Massey and many beloved nieces & nephews. Anthony was preceded in death by his wife Donna Dolan; his parents Philip G Gates Jr and Lois P Gates; and his two brothers, Philip Gates III and Michael Gates. A memorial service for Tony will be held at a future date. The family wishes for expressions of condolences to be made to a veteran’s charity or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at www.anaturalstatefuneralservice.com