Community Spotlight-Robb Bates
The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce recently named their Person of the Year, Bates Family Funeral Home Director Robb Bates.
Robb is a DeKalb native, having graduated DeKalb High School in 1997. A third-generation funeral director, Robb began his career in the funeral business in 2002, working in Ennis, Texas at J.E. Keever Mortuary while attending mortuary school at and graduating from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. In 2009, he and his father Robby opened Bates Family Funeral Home in DeKalb. Since its inception in 2009, Bates Family Funeral Home has been the recipient of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Pursuit of Excellence Award, the premier recognition program for funeral service.
Robb has said that working as a funeral director in his hometown is surprisingly rewarding. “I realized very quickly that if this is your calling there is no better place to do it than the place you grew up,” he said. “If you truly got into this profession to help people, what better people to help than people you’ve known your whole life, who’ve helped you to be who you are, and get where you are?”
And the people of DeKalb and the surrounding communities will all tell you that this area is blessed to have someone like Robb in the position he is in. Long-time friend and co-worker Angee Coleman says Robb’s heart is what makes him so special. “Robb Bates is one of the most kind hearted people I have ever known,” she said. “His love for DeKalb and its people is truly genuine.”
Lifelong friend Charlie Haldeman quite elegantly echoed these sentiments. “When I first saw that the Chamber had named him Person of the Year, I was overjoyed and thought, ‘Well of course he is.’ Perfect choice,” Charlie said. “From the days of riding bicycles behind the downtown buildings on Church and Johnson Streets while our grandparents worked, his at the funeral home and mine at the flower shop, I always thought he was one of the most intelligent and friendliest people I’d ever known. I’ve seen him make friends with people from 9 to 90 from all backgrounds and he treats them with the same respect and candor. That remains his way today. Robb has said he felt so blessed to get the Person of the Year award. I’d say we’re the blessed ones. Blessed to know him and we’re better because of his friendship.”
Joni Haldeman says this year’s award makes perfect sense. “I find it uncanny how the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board selects just the right person, business and organization to recognize each year. Robb’s natural demeanor of a giving heart, genuine empathy, compassion for others, is exactly what was needed this year,” she said. “One of the joys of my life is to have witnessed Robb Bates, a shy little boy, grow into a man that has stepped up and out as a leader in our community. His love and devotion to his family and to this community should be praised and emulated. He comes from good people, and I am thankful for him. He has a special place in my life, my heart.”
Just as he does in every person’s heart whose life he has touched. Congratulations, Robb.