Saturday, April 13, 2024

Andrew Charles Bates, 31

Andrew Charles Bates (Davis Funeral Home)

WILMINGTON — Eight Bells for Andrew Charles Bates. Andrew passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, he was 31 years old.

Andrew was an Oak Island native, born in Wilmington’s New Hanover Regional Hospital on February 27, 1992. He resided on the west end of Oak Island, the clock tower condo on Howe Street in Southport, and ultimately settled in Wilmington.

Suffering from jaundice after leaving the maternity ward, he was lovingly baked in the living room bay window, as the orange color left him, mostly, except when he would grow a ginger beard in his later life.

Andrew was introduced to sailing while still wearing diapers and found his tie to the sea to be lifelong. He quipped once while instructing the Cape Fear Yacht Club’s sailing camp, “I don’t remember learning the things these kids don’t know how to do.”

Andrew’s affinity for travel and thirst for adventure started at a young age. He spent his junior year of high school abroad in France, and graduated from South Brunswick High School a semester early to backpack solo through Australia before heading off to college. His adventures carried him to New York, as he received an appointment to the US Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, where he graduated in 2015.

He was gregarious and had an outgoing personality, trying everything offered by the community from tee-ball to Soccer and even serving as South Brunswick’s Field Goal Kicker for a season. While in college, he spent a cumulative year at sea and sailed around the world – half each on two cruises in different directions. While at King’s Point he was a collegiate sailor, competitively sailing 420’s. He never met a stranger, and excelled in making you feel as if you had known him your entire life.

He supported our community serving as a youth soccer referee before college, and through his contributions to our local youth sailing program at the Cape Fear Yacht Club, where he was a member.

Upon graduating, he accepted a commission in the Naval Reserve and sailed on ships for the Military Sealift Command, Overseas Shipping Group and finally as a First Officer on the tanker Sea Kay Valor.

Eight bells represent the final bell of the day. He had many great plans and many irons in the fire. These many plans ultimately left him with many loose ends that he struggled to tie. This, paired with his fierce independence, resulted in him suffering in silence. To honor our loss, please engage in open communication with your loved ones about their feelings, fears, and struggles, and encourage each other to ask for help.

He was preceded in death by his beloved grandma, Jean (the “Boss”); grandfathers, “Poppy” Joe Kuley and Richard High.

Andrew is survived by his sister, Jessica Pearl Bates; parents, John and Lori Bates; maternal grandmother, Marguerite Kumli High; paternal grandfather, John Bernard Bates and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.

In true Andrew fashion, we will be celebrating his life with an Oyster Roast at the Cape Fear Yacht Club in Southport on Saturday, December 2 at 3 p.m. You are welcome to come, share a story or picture, and help us toast a life while well lived, all too short.

Please RSVP here.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Cape Fear Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program at PO Box 10180, Southport, NC 28461 or at in Andrew’s memory.

His ashes will ultimately be cast upon the ocean on a falling tide so he may continue to travel the world.

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