Richard “Dick” Cates

Dick Cates final words were” Let’s pray.” After praying together and a kiss from each family member, he passed away peacefully on Monday, July 2, 2018 at his Prior Lake home.

All the services will be at St. Michael Catholic Church, 16311 Duluth Avenue SE, Prior Lake, MN. A visitation will be on Friday, July 6, from 3-7 pm and on Saturday, July 7, from 9:30-10:45 am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 am. Father Tom Walker will preside. Pall bearers will be grandson, Tom Keating and nephews, Scott Hennen, Brian Hennen, Brad Reinboldt, Mike Roach, Kevin Roach, Bob McNearney and Tim McNearney. Dick will be laid to rest at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery. Lunch will follow at St. Michael Archangels Hall, with a special celebration of Dick’s life to continue at the Prior Lake V.F.W.

A strong and proud Irishman, Richard Anthony was born on February 8, 1936, in Minneapolis, MN. He was the second of four children born to Delbert and Nora (McCarthy) Cates. The Cates family was one of the founding families of the Prior Lake community. He and his siblings, Helen, Madonna and Ramona grew up in the family home, which is now the home of St Michael Catholic Church. As a young boy, Dick enjoyed playing with his neighboring cousins, but mischief usually followed him wherever he went. Aspiring to be a farmer, Dick loved working at the McCarthy farm and spending his summers there, Dick graduated from Prior Lake High School in 1954 where he enjoyed playing football for the Lakers. He then proudly served in the United State Army Reserves from 1954 to 1962.

Dick had a 38-year career with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he spent most of his time in management. Retiring in 1994, Dick worked the next 12 years transporting special need students for Anderson Bus Company.

As a young adult, Dick enjoyed visiting area dance halls, where he often danced with a pretty gal named Eileen Slater. After five years of courting, Dick and Eileen married on June 30, 1962 at St. Theresa Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN. They welcomed three precious girls, Kathleen, Sheila and Susie. As a family, they enjoyed vacationing together, but they especially loved their annual summer vacation to Gull Four Seasons Resort in Nisswa for the past 25 years.

For almost 50 years, Dick played the drums for various Old-Time bands. He was so proud to share his special talent and to watch people dance and enjoy the music; he was especially fond of playing for senior dances every Wednesday. Dick even became a celebrity on the Polka Spot Light and KCHK Radio.

Dick was a proud member of the Prior Lake/Savage Knights of Columbus Third Degree and the American Legion. He was a loyal customer of the Prior Lake VFW. Every Thursday he would make his annual trip to the hardware store, otherwise known as the VFW, to congregating with his buddies.

Dick loved celebrating his Irish heritage, entertaining at his Irish Bar and participating in St Patrick’s Day parades. He relished his 1994 vacation to Ireland. But it was Dick’s family and faith that were most important. He was a proud and beloved husband, dad, grandpa and brother who passed down his strong faith in God to them.

Dick was generous, sentimental, compassionate and had a big heart. But it was his fun loving and spirited personality that will be missed the most. The amazing legacy of Dick now lays in the hearts of his beloved wife of 56 years, Eileen; children, Kathleen (Charlie) VanMeter, Sheila (Mike) Keating, Susie (Mark) Mahowald; grandchildren, Tom Keating, Caitlin VanMeter, Meghan Keating, Carolyn VanMeter, Melissa Mahowald, Ellie Mahowald; sisters, Madonna Cates, Ramona Hennen; many relatives and friends.

Dick entered enteral life with his parents; sister, Helen (Paul) Reinboldt and brother-in-law, Gordy Hennen.

Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation proudly served and cared for the Cates family. www.ballardsunderfuneral.com

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Condolence Messages

  1. Larry and Betty :

    We will miss Dick and love all of you. We are so grateful to have spent time with Dick before he died. We will be on the road home early Friday morning but will be praying the rosary for all of you on the way. God Bless Larry and Betty

  2. Ted and Jo Hoffman :

    Eileen and family, we were saddened to hear of Dick’s passing . Dick was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor. He lit up a room with his infectious laugh. He touched the hearts of many. We are holding you in our hearts as God welcomes him with loving arms into his kingdom. Hugs and God Bless.
    Ted and Jo Hoffman

  3. Jacqueline Cates :

    Eileen and family,
    My heart goes out to all of you in this time of sorrow and loss. I have always referred to Dick as Uncle Dick, and have been proud to have him as another Cates uncle. I recall his smile, his laughter, and the love he had for all of you. Heaven received another angel. Peace and comfort to you all.

  4. Darlene & Rich Davidson :

    Eileen & family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Dick was such a fun-loving person!

  5. Tammy (Schild) Traylor :

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember him at the senior dances at the Savage American legion. Always made it a point to go say hi and I think he enjoyed that. Sometimes would come on Fridays for fish fry with Mrs. Cates and I enjoyed seeing them! He was a great man and he will be missed by many. Thoughts and prayers to you all.

  6. Mary Catherine McKenna :

    No words can say how my heart is feeling.
    You know how special your family is to me.
    Dick was a unique gentleman
    He made my moms day by dancing with her at the VFW (Dicks home away from home)
    Know that you all are loved and we sure will take good care of Eileen
    Love love love the Cate’s family

  7. Peg O’Keefe :

    Oh Eileen, you and Dick are my picture of all the happiness and love experienced in growing up in Prior Lake. You have always been warm and welcoming. I smile when I think of Dick. Like others, I have my favorite story. May your family and memories surround you with peace.

  8. Erin Lipinski :

    I’m am so sorry to hear about Dick’s passing. This was a true shock to me and I really wish I could have made it to say goodbye. I will always remember how fun and sweet his was. There is a giant pancake waiting for him! (Your server from Hooligans)

  9. Jami Scherer :

    What a wonderful man Dick was! I’ll always remember that big smile! Peace to your entire family!!!

  10. Jackie Loui & Steve Spielman :

    We were so sad to hear of Dick’s passing. We met him through our relatives, John Spielman and Mary McKenna, who used to live next door to him and Eileen. He will be fondly remembered for his warm, friendly and fun-loving nature. May your fond memories bring peace and comfort to your family

  11. Mary (Simpkins) & Darrin Helget :

    My condolences, he was a special man. I so appreciated the time and patience he took to talk with my dad (Gene Simpkins) he was a great friend. Susie you have your dad’s awesome personality and smile. sorry I was not able to make the funeral.

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