Donald R. Bates


MENDOTA - Donald “Squeak” R. Bates, 70, of Mendota, passed away peacefully on March 2, 2021 in his home surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cancer.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 13 at the former First Baptist Church, 900 Monroe St., Mendota. A Celebration of Life will follow at 11 a.m. conducted by Pastor James Duncan. A luncheon will be from noon-3 p.m. Private interment will be at Restland Cemetery, Mendota at 4 p.m. Cremation rites have been accorded. Merritt Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Don was born Aug. 10, 1950 in Ottawa to Dorothy Elizabeth (Smith) Coonen.

Survivors include three daughters, Donna (Rob) Saunders and Tara (Ryan) Young, both of Mendota and Jenna (AJ) Finch of Pulaski, Tenn.; one brother, James (Rita) Bates of LaSalle; four sisters, Patricia Miller of Mendota, Karen Harrison of LaSalle, Gloria (Paul) Muskopf of Peru and Lori (Dale) Hall of LaSalle; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his stepfather and mother, Howard and Dorothy Coonen.

Don attended Mendota Public School and worked for Motor Wheel Corporation in Mendota where he was employed for several years. He then started his career in the drywall business at Illinois Valley Drywall. He later formed his own company, DRB Drywall, providing both drywall and painting services. After a long day of work, he enjoyed sitting uptown in his truck while listening to music, watching the traffic and socializing with his friends and family. He enjoyed home remodeling, had a love for restored cars and was a familiar face at area car shows and swaps. He especially felt great pride in spending time with his family and close friends.

Memorials may be directed to the family. Online condolences may be left at