Community mourns Emmett Gerard Bates (1943-2018)

Continuing-education pioneer founded Concordia's English Language Program
May 15, 2018

Emmett Gerard Bates, a founding member of the English Language Program in Concordia Continuing Education (CCE), passed away on March 18, 2018 at the age of 74. His friend and colleague at CCE, David Paupelain, wrote this tribute.

His mentoring and friendship were always supportive

Emmett Gerard Bates, known to friends and family as Gerry, was born and raised in the small mining town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia in 1943.

As the eldest in a very large family, Gerry grew up shouldering great responsibility from his teen years on and he did so with the characteristic selflessness, good cheer and modesty to which his siblings, his wife Linda and all who knew him can attest.

Despite the family demands that were placed on him, Gerry was a stellar student in high school. In fact, his grades were among the highest in Canada.

Gerry earned a bachelor’s degree in natural science and mathematics from St. Francis Xavier University in 1962. He then served in the navy for 12 years and rose to the rank of Captain. During the latter years of his naval service, Gerry taught ESL (English as a Second Language) on the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu base and found a love and calling for teaching. He would remain devoted to the profession for the rest of his working life.

After leaving the navy, Gerry enrolled in the TESL program at Concordia and completed his degree in 1977. He then went on to become one of the founding members of the ESL program at CELI (Concordia’s Continuing Education Language Institute).

With his pioneering spirit, boundless creativity and vast knowledge, Gerry collaborated with a small group of equally dedicated and talented teachers to create one of the most innovative and successful ESL programs of its day.

“I remember Gerry as a dedicated teaching partner and formidable colleague in curriculum and materials development,” says Adrianne Sklar, CCE teacher consultant.

“He was passionate about giving his students the best of himself. And even though he was loved and respected by his students, he told me that after every session he felt he could have done even more for the class and for individual students.”

In addition to his many and invaluable pedagogical contributions, Gerry fulfilled numerous and varied functions at CELI. Actively concerned with the welfare of both students and fellow teachers alike, Gerry served on various departmental and university-wide health and safety committees throughout his career. Also, as vice-president of Communication for CUCEPTFU, he ensured a consistently relevant and transparent informational link to its membership.

Although he retired a number of years ago, Gerry’s mark on CELI and its staff is indelible and those of us who knew him will miss him greatly.

I knew Gerry in both capacities, and can say that he had a profound impact on me as a teacher and as a person. His mentoring and friendship were always supportive and testament to the same altruism he displayed to his family as a young man and to everyone he touched throughout his life.

Gerry is survived by his wife Linda, his sons Marc and Patrick, his daughter-in-law Suzanne Gagnon, his granddaughter Delphine and a menagerie of pets rescued by him and Linda.

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