Bernie Leroy Bates was born April 8, 1944 in Ashville, N.C. to Ms. Ivy Bates. He was raised in High Point, N.C. by his maternal grandparents, Joe Parker and Idell Tussey. Brother Bates credited his grandparents with instilling i n him the value of academic excellence and to living a purposeful life. In 1971, he married Patricia Belton. From that marriage, two sons were born: Bernie, Jr. and Belton Parker. Bernie Bates was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on April 6, 1963 through Alpha Chapter, Howard University.
Brother Bates enlisted in the United States Army on May 18, 1965. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon completion of Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1967 and was immediately detailed to service in the Military Intelligence Branch.
In 1972, he graduated from Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia with a degree in Political Science. While at Howard University and after graduation, he remained extremely active in the fraternity, participating in Scholarship fundraisers for needy kids and supporting other scholarly activities on their behalf. He received his Law degree from George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1975 and transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Army in 1976. He was admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia and also maintained membership in the National Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
As a career military officer, Brother Bates attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His military assignments included: the Defense Language Institute of Monterey, California where he studied Mandarin Chinese and combat in the Republic of South Vietnam. He also served at Fort Meade, Fort Holabird, Fort Bragg and in the Republic of Germany and the Military District of Washington.
Lieutenant Colonel Bates earned military awards and decorations which included: The Bronze Star Medal, The Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Parachutist Badge, the Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Ribbon.
Bernie L. Bates, loving Husband, Father, Son, Brother and family member; as well as esteemed Brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. died suddenly on August 27, 1984 at Fort McNair, Washington, DC.