Cover photo for Keith E. Bates's Obituary
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Keith E. Bates

July 29, 1931 — October 23, 2018


Keith E. Bates, 87, of Elkhart, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 in his home surrounded by his loved ones.

He was born on July 29, 1931 in Elkhart to Harley and Velma (Shreiner) Bates. He married the love of his life, Marilyn L. Heist, on July 17, 1964 in Elkhart. She survives with 4 children, Vicki (Steve) Hart, Kim (Cindy) Skatvold, and Wendy (Dan) Matz all of Elkhart and Keri (Steve) Owens of League City, TX; 14 grandchildren, Lori Diver, Adam Hart, Jackie Barella, David and Kevin Glasgow, Natalie Williams, Ashley Matz, Lindsay Lucchese, Chelsey Smith, twins: Donald and Keith Matz, Dirk Thompson, Riki Kolenda and Reilly Owens; 19 great-grandchildren and a sister, Alysjane (Clifford) Whisler of Elkhart. He was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Dirk Skatvold.

Keith graduated from Elkhart High School in 1949.  He started and ran a very successful machine shop, Bates Machine, Inc., which specialized in medical equipment. After retiring at the age of 74, he enjoyed traveling with his wife and actually left on a road trip as recently as October 1st.

As hardworking as he was, he always found time to attend family gatherings, his kids’, grandkids’, and great-grandkids’ sporting events, dance recitals, etc.

He was an avid scuba diver and was previously the president of the Indiana Council of Scuba Divers. His organization, Aqua Addicts, helped to train the Indiana State Police for search and rescue efforts.

Keith was a huge Michael Jordan fan and recorded most of the Bulls games to share with his grandkids. He also enjoyed watching Notre Dame sports, the Chicago Bears, and the Golden State Warriors.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Nov. 4th at The RV Hall of Fame, 21565 Executive Pkwy in Elkhart at 2pm.  We encourage you to share your special memories of Keith.  Food and fellowship will follow the program.

The family would like to thank the Progressive Care South staff at Elkhart General Hospital, as well as Center for Hospice Care, for the kindness they provided to Keith and to the entire family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona @ Online condolences may be shared with


Barrow Neurological Institute
Phoenix AZ

To send flowers to the family in memory of Keith E. Bates, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Celebration of Life

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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