Johnny Edward Cates was a man that represented home and comfort to many people. He loved pulling people in, to engage with them, and simply to share life. He loved his family, his Aggies, and agriculture, but most of all he loved His Lord. Johnny went home June 10, 2017 and he is now walking with his Abba Father talking about and basking in the glory and sovereignty of our amazing God.
The visitation for Johnny will be Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Lowe's Funeral Home in Quitman, Texas from 5 PM to 7 PM. The service will be held at the First Baptist Church in Quitman, Texas at 2 PM on Monday June 12, 2017 with burial at the Grice Cemetery afterwards.
Johnny came from humble beginnings in Gilmer, Texas where he met the love of his life, Bonnie Jean Williams Cates. They dated all through high school and married in 1955. Their first child, Steve, was born in 1957, then later Scott (1958), Amanda (1961), and Laura Lee (1963). Johnny loved Bonnie with a sacrificial love, just as Jesus loved the world so much He died to take away our sins. As he and Bonnie walked hand in hand, Johnny showed his family what it meant to follow hard after the Lord, no matter the cost. Psalm 127 says children "are like arrows in the hands of a warrior" and "blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Well, Johnny was surely blessed, and he knew he was. He delighted in his children and took pride in the gifts of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
After graduating high school, Johnny went on to study Poultry Science at Texas A&M University. While attending Texas A&M he was in the Corps of Cadets, which taught him the importance of serving his community and country. Johnny was proud to be an Aggie. He always wore his Aggie Ring and exuded the Aggie Spirit of loyalty and to always fight for your God, family, and country. One way in which he lived out the Aggie Spirit was by serving in the National Guard from 1959-1984; he even worked his way up to Colonel.
Johnny found his life's calling as a county extension agent, where he served for 31 years, 23 of which were in Wood County. Having a background in farming and poultry science, Johnny fit perfectly in this role. Driving along county roads and gazing on God's creation, was something in which he took great joy. Discussing new methods in which to see his county grow and progress agriculturally, and in a way that would lead to the betterment of future generations, was his passion. He witnessed a lot of change, and loved every minute of it. Even after retiring, agriculture was never far from his heart or mind, and he always found a way to help others in need.
Johnny led his family well and is now joined with his parents, WB and Ellen Florence Cates, brother Charles, and his son Scott. As he entered those pearly gates, we know there was a big Welcome Home celebration, and that he heard the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant." Johnny is survived by his wife of 62 years, Bonnie Jean Williams Cates, son Steve and wife LaNelle of Quitman, daughter Amanda and husband Tom Curtis of Rayne, La, and daughter Laura Lee and husband Kent Weems of Quitman. He was blessed with 10 grandchildren Cara and husband Brad Gibson, Candi and husband Corey Haisten, Lauren and husband Clay Hightower, J.T and wife Casey Curtis, Logan Curtis, Christi and husband Grant Domangue, Kevin and wife Leah Weems, Carl and wife Courtney Curtis, Lindsey Weems, and Scott Curtis. His legacy continues in his 10 great grandchildren Conner and Braxten Gibson, Cadyn and Cole Haisten, Jack, Dane, and Wes Curtis, Lucas, Isaac and Abigail Hightower, sister Sara Jean Lancaster, and nieces Pam Cates and Susan Lancaster. He is also survived by his special group of furry family including Daisy, Max, Bobbie-Belle, Maggie, and Fred. In his passing, Johnny left his family with the charge to love people well and serve the Lord always, of which we will do so with passion and boldness he so well displayed.
The family would like to thank the nurses, Brother David, Russell, and Lindsey of Heart to Heart, who wonderfully cared for our beloved every day and walked with us through this time. We are especially thankful for two wonderful ladies who sat and cared for Daddy - Jeannette Ussery and Laura Swaner and the love they showed him every moment they were with him.