Mary Ann Bates, 77, of Spring Grove, passed away on Saturday, February 3, 2024. A wife, mother, grandmother and lover of animals, flowers, plants and all living things, she had a passion for being outdoors and lived an active vigorous life.
Born Mary Ann Rathbone in Manhattan, Kansas, she was the middle child of Robert Bordner Rathbone and Lila Maxine (Ewing) Rathbone. She lived briefly in North Dakota before settling in Maryland and graduating from Northwood High School. She attended West Virginia University before marrying and returning to Silver Spring, Maryland where she raised her family.
On Wembrough Court, they were surrounded by other young families, with whom they would create lifelong friendships. Mary Ann worked as a media specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools - sharing her passion for reading - and later volunteered in schools as a retiree.
Mary Ann married Steven Bates in 2005 and they moved to Spring Grove, Pennsylvania in 2013. Together, they set about transforming their big green backyard into a haven for plants and animals. Spending hours outside with their dogs, they kept bird houses and feeders and enjoyed identifying the birds that visited. Their back patio burst with color in the spring and summer, reflecting their effort.
Mary Ann was a soft touch who could not resist a barn cat in need of a home. Their house reflected this love, with dogs and cats coming and going and pictures of animals on the walls. When she was sick, her grandkids drew pictures of horses to lift her spirits. Her horse, Dazzle, was a part of her life for many years. Even after her cancer returned, she continued to ride her beloved Tennessee Walking horse, Jet, on nearby trails until she was no longer able.
In addition to Steven, Mary Ann is survived by two siblings, her children and her 15 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank VNA of Hanover and Spring Grove Hospice for their expert and compassionate care.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date; please contact family members for details. Memorial donations may be made to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon, Maryland at www.defhr.org. Donations of books to local school libraries in Mary Ann's honor are appreciated. Books will also be received at the celebration of life service and donated to the library where Mary Ann dedicated her time after retirement.
Arrangements are with Brandenburg & Stein Funeral Parlor, 3045 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA, to sign the online guestbook and leave condolences go to www.gettysburgfunerals.com.