Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Judge David Clay Cates died at his home in Syracuse from an apparent heart attack at 9:09 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, at the age of 61.
He was born Oct. 8, 1959, in Evansville, to Mary Ann (Kapperman) Cates and the late Dr. Jeryl R. Cates. On Aug. 30, 2008, he was married to Kimberly Dawn (Reynolds) Cates.
David graduated from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1982 before going on to I.U. School of Law. He always remained an avid Purdue fan. He had been a resident of Kosciusko County for the past 34 years, moving to Syracuse after graduating from law school and earning his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University in 1985, where he graduated cum laude and was an honors graduate. His first practice was with an office in the Pickwick Block in Syracuse.
After leaving the practice with Steve Snyder, Cates worked with Rockhill-Pinnick then became a partner with Dick Green at Green and Cates and later Green, Cates and Grossnickle, LLP. He was the second attorney in the history of the Wawasee Community School Corporation, a position he held for 26 years from 1987 to 2013.
He belonged to the Indiana State and Kosciusko County Bar Associations, ABATE, Ducks Unlimited, John Purdue Club, Calvary United Methodist Church and American Legion Post 253 and was a life member of Purdue Alumni Association and Friends of the NRA.
David was elected as Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Judge in 2014 and again in 2020. He was admitted to practice with the Indiana Supreme Court, Northern and Southern Federal District Courts and U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
As a lawyer he was registered mediator, practiced in real estate, juvenile cases, civil litigation, domestic relations, criminal, estate planning and family law. He also was the former Kosciusko County Board of Realtors attorney.In addition to serving at Wawasee Schools, he served for other corporations, townships, libraries, fire and sewer territories. David served on the Republican staff of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984. He was past executive secretary of the Indiana Judicial Study Commission, Judicial Nominating Commission and Judicial Qualifications Commission. He also was named honorary Indiana Secretary of State.
He was a Republican Party delegate to the Indiana Republican State Convention twice, served as sergeant of arms at the Indiana State Republican Convention, was active within the local Republican party serving as former vice-precinct committee man.
David was an avid fisherman, he also had a love of basketball and coached for 12 years middle and elementary boys within the Wawasee School System.
His wife, Kimberly, serves on the Kosciusko County Council and always enjoyed boat rides as David fished. He was past president of the Lakeland Youth Center Board of Directors and past president of Lakeland Community Services Board (which oversaw the day care and latchkey programs).
He served Teen Parents Succeeding Board, Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, Webster Lake Musky Club, past president of Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary, prior K21 Health Foundation board member. He was also a past member of the Milford Library Board of Trustees, certified Indiana Hunter Education instructor and Muskies Inc. International Fishing Organization president.
His famous Grinch Christmas tie will be remembered, which he always wore during the holiday season and became his trademark. David was a very intelligent man with a sly smile, kind spirit and a servant’s heart. He will be forever loved and remembered as an amazing husband, dad, grandfather and friend to many.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Kimberly Dawn Cates, Syracuse; two sons, Jeryl (Alyssa) Cates, Warsaw, and Jeremy D. Cates, Milford; stepson, Christopher (Sydney) Webb, Denton, Texas; stepdaughter, Abbigail Webb, Miami, Fla.; and his granddaughter, Willow Webb, Denton, Texas. Also surviving is his mother, Mary Ann Cates, Avon; and his sister, Debbie (Larry) Hunt, Beach Grove. He was preceded in death by his father, Jeryl Cates, in 1973.
David’s life was celebrated at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, and officiated by Pastor David Henry. Friends and family came for visitation prior to the service from 2-7 p.m.Memorial donations may be directed to Muskies Inc. International Fisheries Fund, P.O. Box 1509, Waukesha, WI 53187-1509; or to the V Foundation for Cancer Research (commonly called Jimmy V), 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513.
Online condolences may be sent through the funeral home’s website at www.redpathfruthfuneralhome.com.