Pettus Eugene Bates

Published 11:36 am Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Feb. 14, 1938 – Jan. 19, 2021

NATCHEZ — Private graveside services for Pettus Eugene “Gene” Bates, 83, of Natchez who died Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in Hattiesburg will be 3 p.m. Saturday, January 23, 2021 at Church Hill Methodist Church Cemetery.

Burial will follow under the direction of Laird Funeral home.

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Mr. Bates was born February 14, 1938 in Vicksburg, MS, the son of Pettus Estelle Bates and Evie Lee Jones.

November 22, 1959, Eugene Pettus Bates married Susie Mae Bullen; they remained married over 61 years.  Graduating from Mississippi State University with his BS degree in soil science in 1959, and later with his Master’s degree in seed technology, Gene began a lifelong career in the field of agronomy.  Believing in lifelong learning, he continually improved himself through higher education.   Seeking knowledge Gene continually took a wide variety of classes throughout his adult life at Copiah Lincoln Community College.

In 1959 Gene began his career working for the Mississippi State Highway Department in Tupelo, Mississippi.  After receiving his Master’s Degree in 1971 he moved his family to Kansas City, Missouri, working as a plant manager for one of the largest seed companies in the world (Rudy Patrick Seed Company).   1973 began another chapter in his life, as he moved his family back to his beloved South working as the plant manager for Sawan Seed Company in Columbus, Mississippi.   In 1981 (with his daughters grown) Gene and his wife (Susie) moved to Church Hill Mississippi to help with the operations of the family farm.  While helping with the family farm he also embarked on a new career working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a soil scientist for over 19 years.  During these latter years (following in his daddy’s footsteps) Gene served 37 years on the board of trustees at Copiah Lincoln Community College and over a decade as the chairman of the board.  In 2012 Copiah Lincoln honored his hard work and dedication by naming a newly built honors dormitory after him, the P. Eugene Bates Residence Hall.

Wherever Gene lived he faithfully served his church.  After serving as a Baptist deacon for decades, Gene was named Deacon Emeritus at First Baptist Church, Natchez, 2016.  In 1996 he was honored by the Co-Lin Foundation for outstanding contributions to its efforts.  In addition, Gene was also a member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Mississippi State University.

Gene will forever be remembered as a humble Godly man of immense integrity who placed the needs of others above his own.  A devoted husband, father, and grandfather who loved and doted over his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  He is a man whose memory will forever be cherished.

Mr. Bates was preceded in death by his parents, Pettu E. Bates and Evie Lee Jones Bates; stepmother Inez Bates, and grandson Samuel J. Green.

Survivors include his wife, Susie Mae Bullen Bates; daughters, Evie Peavey and husband Woodie of Lucedale, MS Paula Green and husband Ron of Stewartsville, MO; grandchildren, Paul Green of Kansas City, MO, Shawn Sadler of Wiggins, MS, Elizabeth Bortell and husband Curtis of Centerville, IA, Matthew Green and wife Cara of Gower, MO, Daniel Sadler and wife Taylor of St. Joseph, MS, Lauren Green of St. Joseph, MO, Morgan Lundy and husband Spencer of Stewartsville, MO, Madison Green of Kansas City, MO, and Michael Green of Stewartsville, MO; great-grandchildren, Adrian and Elyse Green, Lily, Madalynn, Phoenix,  and Linkin Bortell, Sabina, Anna, Ambrose, Monica, Gabriel and Zelie Green, and Logan Lundy; brother George Bates and wife Linda of Church Hill, MS, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Shawn Sadler, Matthew Green, Paul Green, Curtis Bortell, Michael Green, Daniel Sadler, Mike Guedon, John Bullen, Joseph Bullen and Michael Williams.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Natchez, MS.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at