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Wilma Marie Bates

Wilma Marie Bates, a beacon of love and warmth, passed away of natural causes on March 30, 2024, under the care of Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare at Danbury Assisted Living in Wooster, Ohio. Born on April 6, 1938, in Caldwell, Ohio, to the late Edward J Nau and Nola (Miller) Nau, Wilma lived a life characterized by kindness, devotion to family, and a strong sense of community.

Wilma graduated from Caldwell High School in 1955, where she formed lifelong friendships and laid the foundation for her future endeavors. Her career at Westfield Insurance Company was marked by dedication and a work ethic that inspired her colleagues. Outside of her professional life, Wilma was a faithful member of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Caldwell and, more recently, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wooster. Her faith was a cornerstone of her existence, providing her with solace and strength throughout her journey.

A talented seamstress and quilter, Wilma found joy in creating beautiful pieces for her loved ones and her home. Her crafts were not only a testament to her skill but also a symbol of her desire to share warmth and comfort with those around her. Wilma’s interests extended to her community, where her involvement and contributions were deeply valued.

She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Kenneth L Bates; her cherished son, Michael D Bates; her dear brother, Harold J (Joan) Nau; her precious sister, Beverly A Nau, and her parents. Wilma’s legacy continues through her devoted sister, Donna N (James) Safigan; her loving children, Kenneth E (Mimi) Bates, Lisa A (Mike) Crawford, and Theresa L (Stuart) Swinehart; her daughter-in-law, Kathy Bates; her adored 10 grandchildren; her 15 great-grandchildren; as well as several nieces, nephew, and in-laws, all of whom brought immense joy to her life.

Those who knew Wilma will remember her for her loving nature. She was a woman who cherished her family above all, celebrating their achievements and supporting them through life’s challenges. Her grandchildren, in particular, were the light of her life, and she took great pleasure in their growth and happiness.

Wilma’s warmth extended beyond her family to her friends and all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Her kindness was felt by many, leaving a lasting impression on countless hearts. She had the rare ability to make everyone feel at home, a gift that will be dearly missed.

The family will receive friends for visitation Wednesday, April 3, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 1036 Belford St, Caldwell, OH 43724. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the conclusion of visitation Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, with Rev. Father Dale Tornes serving as celebrant. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest next to her husband Kenneth. Chandler Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 609 West Street, Caldwell, OH 43724 has been entrusted to care for the family. Please join us in remembering Wilma by visiting her memorial at

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