Lonnie “Sonny” Creighton Bates passed away peacefully at home on February 16, 2021. Sonny was born on June 13, 1933 in Hanna, LA to Nora Allen Bates and Lyman Creighton Bates. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruth and husband Richard Stevens and Beth and husband John Starnes. He is also survived by nieces Pam Tomme, Kathy and husband Dave Young and nephew Jimmy Shirley.
At the age of 15 after losing his father to an accident Sonny became very close with Mary Evelyn and Orlean Jowers. Orlean spent time with Sonny helping him with ball playing as well as hunting and fishing. Sonny spent so much time with Orlean he became like a brother to Jimmy and Ben Robert Jowers. He was also special family with Jimmy, Kathy, and Preston Jowers as well as Ben Robert, Lesa, Joseph and James Creighton Jowers. He was especially close to “Doc”, the Jowers’ Labrador.
Sonny graduated from Coushatta High School where he excelled in basketball, earning All State recognition as well as participating on the track team. After high school Sonny attended and graduated Northwestern State College.
After graduation from college Sonny joined the United States Marine Corps. While serving in the Marines, he was instrumental in creating a special air training maneuver for the Marine Corps Air Command. During a recent Marine reunion, the Commandant walked up to Sonny and personally thanked him for his strategic training method. He told him that this maneuver was still being used in today’s training. Sonny was extremely proud of that moment as he regarded and said, “the Marine Corps Commandant is right up there in line under God and Jesus!”
Sonny became employed as a U. S. Air Traffic Controller in Memphis, Tennessee. While there, he worked with and became friends with Frank Lawson and his wife Wilda. He became a special family member with Wilda and Frank, Cheryl and her husband Greg Herring and Thomas. Sonny became known as “Chick”. They all moved to Hohenwald, Tennessee upon retirement. Sonny moved back home to Coushatta in 2019.
Services will be private graveside weather permitting.
Donations may be given to the Springville Cemetery Association.