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Johnny Edward Cates

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.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Johnny Cates, please visit our flower store.


So sad to have Johnny depart from us on earth, but so blessed to have known and worked with him for so many years. Johnny was the County Agent's County Agent, the Christian's Christian, the Gentleman's Gentleman, and the Husband's Husband. His love of people and agriculture was contagious and quickly infected those that came in contact with him. Johnny never failed to bring me up to date on "Mrs. Bonnie" and family each time we got together. He was proud of his family and loved to talk about each one - especially the grandchildren. He never had to mention God for you to know he was a Christian. He preached a sermon without words each day by the way he lived. Some may think Johnny is in heaven singing and rejoicing. I think he is walking around with St. Peter saying "Why don't we plant some hybrid bermuda over here, some silage over in this corner" and with that unique characteristic smile and chuckle "we probably should have a short educational meeting to teach these angles a little more about hay production". I am glad to have called Johnny my friend, but even gladder to believe he called me his friend. If our goal, as it should be, to leave this world a better place than when we arrived, Johnny certainly accomplished his task. His life of service to his God, his Country, his Family, and his Neighbor is well documented and deeply appreciated. Well done faithful servant!

Ken Smith Jun 12 2017 12:00 AM

Cara, we are so sorry to hear of the loss of you grandfather. He was a kind and gentle man and will be missed by many. I pray the Lord will give you the peace that you need to get through the days ahead. Peace and strength, this is our prayer.

Nicki & Donnell Taylor Jun 11 2017 12:00 AM

Rest In Peace Mr. Cates. What a Joyful reception there was at the Pearly Gates.

D.D & Cheryl Folds Jun 11 2017 12:00 AM

Johnny Cates was a household name at our house as my dad, Gordon Ford, also was a county extension agent. They worked together when we lived in Wood County...as well as when we were not in Wood County. I know his was a life well lived. I am grateful for the friendship he shared with my dad and for the Truth that his friends and family do jot grieve as the world grieves. He is truly living now!

Tricia Ford Wilson Jun 11 2017 12:00 AM

I always appreciated Johnny's friendliness to me when we happened to run into each other. He was a truly great man and will be missed.

Teresa Dunn Jun 11 2017 12:00 AM

Great man to work with. Learned a lot from him. RIP Johnny

Kevan Gray Jun 10 2017 12:00 AM

I knew Johnny to be a kind gentleman who was always pleasant. May he Rest In Peace.

Mary Sue Cole Jun 10 2017 12:00 AM

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Keith and Carla Champion Jun 10 2017 12:00 AM

So sorry. Such a sweet man

H.W. & AnnHalcomb Jun 10 2017 12:00 AM