Goodbye Old Friend
You were loved & cherished, and will be sorely missed.

The beloved cartoonist, Bill Bates, has passed away at the age of 78.  Bill Bates was a staple in Carmel By the Sea since 1972.  Bill's wife Lei Lei Bates was with him when he passed away at Kindred Hospital in San Leandro about 5:45 a.m., May 21, 2009.  They have a daughter named Chelsea.




Bill Bates spent much of his adult life on the Central Coast entertaining and informing the community through his sketches & drawings, and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  For 36 years, Bill drew a weekly cartoon for the Carmel Pine Cone, illustrating his adopted town's idiosyncrasies.  He later became a regular editorial cartoonist for The Herald in Monterey.

He was born in Texas on Jan. 6, 1930, but lived in Carmel since 1972.  He was introduced to Carmel when he was working as a cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner.  "I came to a national cartoonists' convention in Carmel," he said. "That's where I met Gus Arriola and Eldon Dedini. Hank (Ketcham) came later. I told them I'd like to live here someday. I returned in 1972 and we've met every other Tuesday for coffee ever since."

Bill's father died at a young age, leaving the boy to be reared mostly by his grandmother. After high school, he joined the military, then spent years traveling the world with a cruise line, sketching caricatures of passengers.  It was during those years that he made friends all over the world, and sketched some of the most exotic ports on Earth — work he published in 23 books.

Twenty years ago, at one of those island venues, he met Lei Lei, whom he married two years later.  He met Lei Lei, in Sydney, Australia, where he had gone to illustrate a cookbook. They have a daughter, Chelsea, who will be a Senior at York School. The couple owned and operated the Carmel Café on Ocean Avenue before selling it in 2001.

During his last days, Lei Lei said her husband had not lost his sense of humor, and drive to get better.  “He was always positive,” she said. “He was patient of the month.  Everybody loved him. He wanted to get better so he cooperated with everything, even if he was in pain sometimes. He never complained.”


Friends of Bill Bates
P.O. Box 146
Carmel, CA 9392





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