Rev. Stephen Ray Cates passed away suddenly, from a heart attack, on Saturday, July 10, 2004 at his home in Corinth, Texas at the age of 55.
Steve was born at the Florence Nightingale Maternity Hospital at Baylor University Hospital Dallas on February 24, 1949 to his loving parents Jess Willard Cates and Mary Margaret Snodgrass Cates.
He is predeceased by his mother, Mary Margaret Cates; brother, Billy Richard Cates and step-son, Jeremy Lee Kemp. Steve is survived by his wife of 25 years, Jamie Poston Cates; children; Tiffany Beth Cates, Stephanie Shawn Cates Duckworth, Brittney D’Layne Cates Matlock, Stephen James Cates and Casey Ray Cates; grandchildren, Katrina, Brooklyn, Krystal, Brittney, Garrett and Preston; great grandchildren, Katrianna and Kapreycia; his father, Rev. Jess Cates and wife, Ardenia Burchett Cates; sister, Margaret Cates Burchett and husband, Rev. Weldon Burchett; sister-in-law, Kayren Poston Spinks Arnold; brother-in-law, Jerry Poston and wife, Kay Barnes Poston, nephews, James Burchett, Phillip Burchett and wife, Sherry, Paul Spinks, Jay Poston and wife, Shana, Drew Arnold; nieces, Tammy Burchett Owens, Tammy Poston Swagler and husband, David Swagler, Valerie Spinks Hartnell and husband, Sean Hartnell, Kelly Poston Smith and husband, Dr. Mike Smith, Penny Spinks Brooks and husband, Mark; and many other great nieces, great nephews, family and friends.
Steve, as a “Pastor’s Kid” lived many different places, but fondly remembers Pilot Point as home. He joined the Marine Corp in 1966 and ended up in Vietnam. He was there during the “Tet Offense” and spoke of being surrounded by the enemy. He lived in a fox hole for 72 days, his clothes rotting from the monsoon, being wet all the time. During this time he was reported “MIA” they didn’t know where he was. The Red Cross was making effort to find him because his first child was born and at 1 month old was diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis and wasn’t expected to survive. The Red Cross was finally able to reach the unit that knew where they were supposed to be and somehow got word to the officer in charge. He shouted from his fox hole over to Steve and asked if he would like to go home!!! The only way out for him was the volunteer flights coming in to drop supplies. He made his way to the makeshift airstrip and when the next plane came in he and four others had to run, when supplies were being shoved off the plane, and jump in the belly of the plane as it was taxiing for take off again, the plane never stopping. The plane lifted off and when about 100 ft in the air was hit by enemy fire, but the pilot was able to control the plane and managed to get them back to the rear area where he caught a ride on a cargo plane going to Okinawa. He finished his days with the Marines in Vallejo, California at Mare Island and was discharged at the completion of his 4 year term in 1970.
Returning to Texas after the military, he landed a job at Cox Chevrolet in McKinney as a apprentice mechanic and was trained under a man that had years of experience. He became a great mechanic, being able to take a motor that was completely torn down, most pieces in a box for several years, and put it back together and make it run. He worked in many capacities in the automotive industry, auto technician, service dispatcher, service advisor, parts manager, service manager, service director, new car sales, new car sales manager, finance, and finance director.
After 25 years in the auto industry, Steve answered the call, that the Lord had placed on his life, in January 1995. He began his ministry at Christian Center Assembly of God in Farmers Branch where his brother-in-law and sister, Rev. Weldon and Margaret Cates were the pastors. He delved into the Word of God and quickly became heavily anointed with the Spirit of the Lord. He started out doing maintenance and odd jobs for the church. Steve and Jamie enjoyed cooking Wednesday Dinners for the congregation as well as preparing many a Sunday night afterglow meals. He and Jamie were appointed to be the Sunday School Directors and Steve taught the Adult Sunday School class. He also was one of the worship singers. Steve was asked to fill in for the prayer group and in a short time was asked to take it on full time. Wasn’t long before the Prayer Group was meeting Monday through Friday every week. He ministered to many by teaching the Word of God and the Prayer Group grew and grew. On many occasions, Pastor Burchett asked Steve to bring the message during Sunday Morning Worship services, Sunday night services, and Wednesday nights services. He grew fuller and fuller with God’s Word and in November 1999 God called him to start a church in Corinth, Texas. God provided a beautiful facility for the church, Corinth Praise and Worship Center, to have their services. God always filled the house with people who were hungry for the truth of Gods Word and many were saved, healed and delivered by God through Steve’s ministry.
Steve was a “Jack of All Trades” with the ability and knowledge to do many things. He loved laughing and making people laugh. He had many friends and enjoyed fellow-shipping with them. Steve loved his children and grand children and all his family. The people in his church, his church family, were dear to his heart. Steve will be missed by many.
The family will be receiving family and friends for viewing and visitation on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 in the Brooks Family Chapel of the North Dallas Funeral Home, 2710 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, Texas 75234.
Funeral service will be Wednesday, July 14, 2004 at 2:00 pm at Christian Center Assembly of God, 13505 Josey Lane, Farmers Branch, Texas 75234. Rev. Kenny Howe, President of World Bible Way Fellowship and Rev. Weldon Burchett, Pastor of Christian Center Assembly of God, officiating.
A procession will follow the services to Wilson Chapel Cemetery, 1000 Chapel Lane, McKinney, Texas 75069 where Pastor Steve will be laid to rest.
Pallbearers will be J.C. Elmore, Felix Odiase, David Miller, Don Pevehouse, Lonnie Starnes, and Eddie Fregia.
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