The Rt. Rev. George Bates, longtime bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, died Tuesday, March 30, 1999, in Medford, Ore.

He had served the Utah diocese for a decade until his retirement in June 1996 when he revealed that he was battling cancer. According to diocese spokesman the Rev. Jeff Sells, his health declined despite several surgeries.Bishop Bates was born Aug. 11, 1933, in Binghamton, N.Y. He received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and his master of divinity degree from Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass.

He was ordained to the deaconate in June 1958 and to the priesthood a year later. He was consecrated the ninth bishop of Utah Oct. 25, 1986 and served until June 1996. The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish succeeded him as the 10th bishop of Utah.

Bishop Bates served a broad range of communities during his ministry, including Episcopal parishes in Ithaca, N.Y., Pendleton, Ore., and Albuquerque, N.M. He also served on many community boards throughout the country.

In Utah, he was chairman of St. Mark's Hospital Board, a member of the Rowland Hall/St. Mark's School board of directors and the Westminster College board of directors. He was also an advisory member of HCA St. Mark's Hospital and held other community board positions.

He's survived by his wife, Sue, his daughter, Kathryn, and son, Richard.

Wednesday, the diocese lauded Bishop Bates as a "caring and giving person, always with time to give others. He acted courageously in his own life, with his battle with cancer and with alcoholism. His willingness to share his story with others across the country resulted in many seeking help with the disease of alcoholism in their lives."

Several representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah were to travel to Medford for a funeral service Thursday at St. Mark's Church. The Rt. Rev. Ruskin Kimsey, bishop of Eastern Oregon, was to preach, with the Rt. Rev. Robert Ladihoff, bishop of Oregon serving as the celebrant.

The Utah Diocese will hold a service of thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the Rt. Rev. Bates Wednesday, April 21, at noon at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.