Donald Gates


Donald Ray Gates, AKA “Gator” or “Big D,” age 68, of Sylva, N.C., passed away, after a period of declining health, peacefully at home, Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019. He was surrounded by family, and beloved cat Kitty Baby.

In high school he played baseball, and later could be found at the softball field pitching or umpiring. He had a burning love for dirt track racing, and was an avid hunter. He always enjoyed supporting local turkey shoots. He retired from the N.C. Department of Transportation in 2013. He was a member of Locust Field Baptist Church.

He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Rosetta Carter Gates; daughter, Christy Gates Clayton; son-in-law, Quincy Clayton; and granddaughter, Cheyenne Rose Clayton.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ora and Charity Gates; and several half-siblings.

Services at Appalachian Funeral Services of Sylva, N.C., were as follows:

Received friends on Thursday, Nov. 21, from 6-8 p.m. and funeral at 2 p.m. Friday Nov. 22, with the Revs. Eddie Stillwell, Roger Stewman, Mike Farmer and Austin Frady officiating. Burial followed at Old Savannah Baptist Church Cemetery.

Pallbearers and honorary pallbearers were family members and special friends.

An online registry is available at

Appalachian Funeral Services of Sylva served the family.