Cover photo for James M. Bates's Obituary
James M. Bates Profile Photo
1955 James 2024

James M. Bates

September 16, 1955 — June 1, 2024

COL (Ret) James M. Bates, Jr., better known as “Chip”, passed away on June 1, 2024, at the age of 68.


“Chip” was born on September 16, 1955, and grew up in Lynchburg, VA.  He graduated from E.C. Glass High School in 1973, went on to attend William & Mary, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and later earned a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University.  In 2000, he also received a Master of Strategic Studies degree from United States Army War College.


“Chip” was a proud veteran of the United States of Army.  At the age of 22, he entered the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps and School in October 1977 at the rank of Second Lieutenant.  He was assigned to several duty stations including Aberdeen Proving Grounds (MD), Camp Humphreys (Korea), Fort Lee (VA), Fort Liberty (formerly known as Fort Bragg) (NC), the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), Letterkenny Army Depot (PA), Leghorn Army Depot (Italy), Fort McPherson (GA) and Fort Monroe (VA).  He was deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Urgent Fury and the Gulf War and shortly before his retirement, he was deployed to the Global War on Terrorism in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  In addition to the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal, “Chip” received over 15 other medals and decorations during his military career.  And after 26 years, 2 months, and 29 days, “Chip” retired as a Colonel.


In the later part of his career, “Chip” worked as a Military Defense Contractor for the Department of Defense while also pursuing his dream of owning a business.  In 2005 he and his family decided to open an ice cream franchise known as Cold Stone Creamery in Lynchburg, VA.  For 18 years, he and his family created a place where the community could come and enjoy a treat all while making personal connections.     


“Chip” loved spending time with his wife, Dana, his children, Jessica and Tre, and their spouses.  He was always there to offer guidance, support, and encouragement, no matter what challenges they faced.  His fur “babies”, Willie and Chloe, were never far behind no matter where he went.  “Chip” also loved reminiscing and sharing stories about his past, whether it was about a military operation or a hilarious story from his high school or college years.  As a world traveler, “Chip” has been to over 50 countries and loved learning about different cultures and indulging in their food.  And who can forget his love for football?  “Chip” was a faithful fan of the Pittsburg Steelers and although a graduate of William & Mary, he became an honorary Hokie after Jessica and Tre decided to attend Virginia Tech.  He loved attending Virginia Tech football games with his family.  “Chip” will always be remembered for his gigantic smile, loud talking, and crazy antics! 


Preceding him in death are his parents, James M. Bates, Sr. and Constance “Connie” Bates, paternal grandparents, Alphonzo and Mary Harvey Bates, maternal grandparents John and Beatrice Kimbrough, and his loving aunt, Susie K. Latham.


Remaining to cherish “Chip’s” memory are his high school sweetheart and devoted wife of 46 years, Dana, daughter Jessica Bates (Tarrel), son James “Tré” Bates, III (Lynora), sister, Mary B. Telele, nephew Daniel Telele, uncle and aunt Frank and Kat Brown and many other loving family members and friends.


“Chip” will be dearly missed by all who knew him, but his legacy will live on through his family, friends, and colleagues.


A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2024, at 1:00 PM at Court Street Baptist Church (517 Court St, Lynchburg, VA 24504).  The repast will be held at Mount Carmel Baptist Church ( 800 Cabell St, Lynchburg, Va) immediately following the service.  Military Honors will be conducted by military personnel from Fort Gregg-Adams, formerly known as Fort Lee, in Petersburg, Virginia


Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James M. Bates, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Court Street Baptist Church

517 Court St, Lynchburg, VA 24504

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