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Rev. Jerome Calvert GatesJanuary 7, 1961 ~ September 27, 2017 (age 56)
The words of the Apostle Mark (10:45) bear witness to the life of The Rev. Jerome C. Gates who took the promising words of Jesus seriously. His contributions to this world as a family man, business entrepreneur, mentor, and citizen all testify that he shaped his life according to God’s command that we use our lives to make a difference for others. He rests today in the cradle of Christ, knowing he did his best to live up to that standard.
Jerome was the fourth child of Glendora and Wiley Gates, born on January 7, 1961 in Riverside, California. He was exposed early on to the vast possibilities available in life. As a young child in a military family, he lived in France among people from all over the world. Perhaps it was the social diversity of this setting that sparked his disposition for exploration and pushing the boundaries of what he thought was possible. Anyone who knew Jerome experienced him as a “talker”, a person who loved to watch and comment on the religious, social, business, political patterns that make up our world. He loved to push the boundaries of his mind, toying with new creations and inventions that could change the mechanics of daily life. It was during these moments that his wide-eyed enthusiasm made him most endearing, pulling us into his web of imaginative speculations and storytelling, always with a warm smile, bear hugs, and engaging laughter.
After France, Jerome moved stateside and he attended school in East St. Louis, Illinois and later in South Bend, Indiana where he graduated from James Whitcomb Riley High School in 1980. It was then that Jerome’s creativity and entrepreneurial drive merged into a plan of action. He received an Associate’s Degree in Small Business and Office Operations from Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, and in 1984, launched his first business enterprise, Triple Crown Maintenance, a line of work that morphed into many variations over the course of his life.
Jerome was baptized at the age of nine in East St. Louis, Illinois and heard the call to move from the pews into ministerial leadership during his early adult years. He was licensed to preach by The Rev. Carl McKinney, Jr. in 1983 within the denomination of the Church of God in Christ. Under the mentorship of Bishop Alfred Deeds, he was also granted a general license to preach in 1989 within the United Pentecostal Church, Inc. He was fully ordained as a minister by Bishop Eddie Miller, Sr. in South Bend in 1991.
For Jerome, life as a Christian man required that he find a partner who shared his dreams and ambitions. It was a fortuitous event that he found himself worshiping in Buchanan, Michigan and was reminded of a rumor that a beautiful young woman who had earlier captured his eye had just returned to town. Jerome didn’t miss a beat. Ever the gentleman, Jerome knocked on Jackie Hall’s grandmother’s door, introduced himself, and made a case why he should leave his phone number. Lueanna Hankerson was impressed and, clearly, so was Jackie! The spirited romance turned into a marriage proposal, and a union that blessed them with two daughters, Melissa Lueanna and Mariam Crimsetta.
Jerome and his young family moved to Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1990, building a foundation that would allow them to prosper and flourish in a life worthy of Christ’s challenge. It was there that all the earlier lessons of life came into full expression. He continued to say “yes” to his entrepreneurial dreams, offering maintenance services to businesses throughout central Oklahoma. He founded the Christ Tabernacle Church, an intimate home-based ministry in Midwest City where he served as its pastor from 1990 until his death. Eager to help youth who had lost their way, he was a volunteer mentor for the Oklahoma County Court and Detention Services, being honored as Volunteer of the Year in 1995.
As a father and husband, he and Jackie created conditions that enabled their daughters to live into their potential. Both daughters graduated as valedictorians and with academic honors from Midwest City High School leading to bachelor’s degrees from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame University and the University of Oklahoma. Mariam continued to pursue higher education and earned a Master’s degree from University of Central Florida. Jerome noted in the last months of his life that among his greatest joys was the blessing of grandchildren, Jayce Leonard and Miles Sterling.
This husband, father, family man and lover of Jesus also had other enthusiasms that kept his spirit lively. As an avid fisherman, Jerome loved to spend time on the water, searching for the “big catch”. His love for sports started in high school as a celebrated member of the track team. He was a huge fan of Oklahoma and Notre Dame football, Oklahoma City Thunder basketball, and personal fitness.
Jerome Gates – the anchor that kept the faith and brought God’s light to the word; the man with a servant’s heart; the ordinary hero eager to share love and affection – left this life too soon. Yet, his legacy will endure among the lives he touched, the souls who found resilience and salvation through his ministry, and the simple and powerful ways he reminded us that relationships always matter. He will be missed.
Surviving Jerome are his wife of 32 years, Jacqueline Hall Gates; daughters Melissa L. Gates of Indianapolis, Indiana and Mariam C. Gates Robin (Marlon) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; his father, Wiley Gates of South Bend; Indiana sisters Apostle Brenda Gates of South Bend, Indiana Glendorline Gates Carter (Raymond) of O’Fallan, Illinois, Terry Gates (Monica) of South Bend, Indiana and Rodney Gates (LaShonda) of Covington, Georgia. Also celebrating his life are his grandsons, Jayce Leonard Gates-Hughley and Miles Sterling Robin; Friends-in-Life Apostle Dennis Givens, South Bend, Indiana, William “Billie” P. Wilson III of South Bend, Indiana, Kelvin Scott of Cleveland, Ohio, and Clarence M. Taylor, Jr. of Indianapolis, Indiana. Proceedings in death are his mother, Glendora McKinney Gates (1931-2017) and brother, Dwight Gates (1959-2005). A host of friends join the family in celebrating the life of the Rev. Jerome C. Gates.
A celebration of his life will take place at 10:00am EST, Saturday, October 7, 2017 at New Horizons Outreach Ministry Church 56165 Mayflower Road, South Bend, Indiana with Apostle Dennis Givens to officiate burial will follow in St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park Cemetery 375 W. Cleveland Road, Granger, Indiana. Visitation will be 9:00am EST, Saturday, October 7, 2017 at New Horizons Outreach Ministry Church 56165 Mayflower Road, South Bend, Indiana.