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Elizabeth D. Bates


March 4, 2021


Elizabeth (“Libby”) Bates passed away peacefully at home on March 3 at the age of 94. 

Libby was born Elizabeth Humphrey Fee in Pittsburgh on January 7, 1927.  She was named for her father’s ancestor Robert Humphrey, a western Pennsylvania pioneer and rifleman in the American Revolution who crossed the Delaware with Washington’s army at the Battle of Trenton.  Her father Dwight Fee, a noted newspaperman in Pittsburgh, volunteered to serve in the trenches in WWI and afterward, in tandem with his wife Naomi Lucille, traveled Africa, documenting the work of American missionaries there.

Libby was the second of seven children raised by Dwight and Lucille in Mt. Lebanon, outside Pittsburgh. 

After graduating from high school one year ahead of schedule she attended Muskingum College in Ohio, happily living at the Chi Alpha Nu house with her “sisters.”  At college, in chemistry lab, she met classmate and local farm boy James Bates.  Following graduation, the two married and lived briefly in Ohio prior to Jim’s pursuit of a medical degree.  Libby had fond memories of the years she spent working at United States Steel in downtown Pittsburgh, enabling Jim’s medical education.  With her support, Jim became Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. 

Libby and Jim were married for 68 years.  Together, they raised four children, and Libby was, without exaggeration, the active and essential key to their happiness and success in life.  Patient and compassionate, she was always there to listen and console, to nurture and encourage.  Many extended family members have benefitted from her kindness and generosity. She had a life-long passion for contributing to global organizations dedicated to alleviating human suffering and encouraged her family to think of those whose circumstances were less fortunate than their own. 

Libby and Jim shared a love of music and traveled, when they could, to see the leading pianists of the day perform.  Libby herself was a very talented pianist although true to her modest nature, she mostly played in private. 

Libby was predeceased by her husband, their son Jim and grandson Kris.  She is survived by her sons Tom and Dave Bates (Margaret McKane), daughter Ellen Leighow (Dennis), daughter-in-law Susan Bates, and, by her beloved cat Dusty.

She took delight in her grandchildren Bill, Lindsey, Andrew, Allison and Sarah and great grandchildren Aiden, Scarlett and Maura, working hard to plan activities and trips where another generation could experience and learn about the world together, in the company of their extended family.  She will be dearly missed by everyone who loved her.

Entombment will be private at the convenience of the family in the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Pittsburgh PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders,  P.O. Box 5022 , Hagerstown, MD   21741   or Feeding America, P.O. Box 96749,  Washington DC 20077.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Visneski Funeral Home, Inc 42 West Mahoning Street Danville PA.

Links:  Facebook.com/visneskifh  ~  Twitter.com/visneskifh  ~ www.Visneski.com


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