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Henry L. Gates Sr.

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Henry L. Gates Sr. [Wayne]

For the Cumberland Times-News

Jan 03, 2011, 11:29 PM EST

— WAYNE, N.J. — Henry Louis Gates Sr., 97, formerly a resident of Cumberland and Piedmont, W.Va., died peacefully on Christmas Eve, 2010, in Wayne, at home with his family gathered at his bedside. After living in Lexington, Mass., following the death of his wife, Mr. Gates had resided for the past several years at the home of his older son, Dr. Paul Gates.

Henry was born in Patterson’s Creek, W.Va., on June 8, 1913. One of eight children born to Edward St. Lawrence Gates and Helen Gertrude Redman Gates, he was the youngest of seven sons.

He was a graduate of Frederick Street High School and in 1998 received an honorary doctorate degree from Seton Hall University. He worked for much of his career at the Westvaco Paper Mill in Luke, and at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, in Piedmont. He also served in various positions in Local 676 of the Papermakers and Paperworkers Union. He and his wife, Pauline Augusta Coleman Gates, who died in 1987, made their home in Piedmont, where they raised two sons. Henry served in the United States Army during World War II, rising to the rank of sergeant, and was nearly twenty eight years old when he enlisted in 1941. In recent years, Henry made appearances in the popular PBS television series, “African American Lives” and “Faces of America.” As part of the latter program, he had his full genome sequenced, making scientific history by becoming the oldest human being to have had this procedure done and made publicly available for scientific and medical research.

Henry is survived by his two devoted sons, Dr. Paul E. Gates, the Chief of Dentistry at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York, and his wife, Gemina, Assistant Dean and Director of the Sophie Davis Physician Assistant Program at City College in New York, both of Wayne, N.J. and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass.; 10 grandchildren, including Maude Augusta and Elizabeth Helen Claire Gates, both of Cambridge, Eboni Gates of Harlem, N.Y., Jennifer Rogers and her husband, Shane, of Durham, N.C., Aaron Pierce Gates of Wayne, Louis Pena and his wife, Yiwen, of Queens, N.Y., Matthew, Michael, Kristen, and Alexander Pena, all of Wayne; as well as three great-grandchildren, Gage Rogers of Durham, and Shelby and Sydney Pena, both of Queens.

Henry was predeceased by his wife, Pauline, and all seven of his siblings.

His funeral was held at Christ’s Episcopal Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J. on Dec. 30, 2010.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at 11 a.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Cumberland.

His remains will be interred in Potomac Memorial Gardens, in Keyser, W.Va., next to the remains of his wife, Pauline.


Cumberland Times-News


Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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