Thomas Cecil Cates was born March 13, 1936 to Arlie and Georgia Cates in Bixby, Oklahoma. He departed this life July 16, 2021 at the age of 85 years, 4 months and 6 days.
Thomas grew up in Jenks and surrounding area. He went to work at an early age ultimately making the choice to serve his country with the United States Air Force on February 6, 1957. Thomas had known Caroline Shaver from years past and asked her out while home from Japan. As recalled, this was a Tuesday night and come Friday, July 17th of 1959, the two were married. They shared sixty-two years together. Life together brought Thomas and Caroline highs and lows as they worked to support the family they were raising. Though known for his carpentry skills Thomas had many ventures such as owning a bike shop while living in California. He retired from KWIKSET in Bristow where he performed the mechanical maintenance on their equipment. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t fix and he passed his time tinkering until whatever it was worked again. Thomas built sand rails and dune buggies. It was a joy building something from nothing. Many hours of laughter and excitement came from his creations. He loved to fish when the time was right and never passed up a yard sale. Thomas was strong in his faith. He served his Lord and Savior faithfully. He and his family attended Welcome Tabernacle in Stroud, Oklahoma. Thomas was a past member of the LIONS club in Glenpool, Tulsa Bow Hunters Club, a Tulsa County Deputy for a while and the first paid officer in Glenpool.
Thomas is survived by his wife, Caroline of the home; one daughter, Mary Waldrep and husband Steven; one sister, Katherine Louise Yockey; three grandchildren, Josh Vincent and wife Mindy, Kayla Rankin and Husband Anthony and Jake Cox, five great-grandchildren; Lilie Cox, Karigan Rankin, A’Marie Rankin, Journey Vincent and Joseph Rankin. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sons, Thomas Cecil Cates Jr. and Arlie Clint Cates.