OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Well-known coast radio personality, singer, and songwriter Reggie Bates has lost his battle with COVID-19.
Friends took to social media Saturday to offer their condolences and share memories of a man who will be greatly missed by so many in South Mississippi.
Reggie Bates took his music seriously, but he was also serious about having fun.
“We had an affinity for funny songs,” said fellow musician and former co-worker Scott Stradtner. " And it was not uncommon to be in a stressful or public situation, and Reggie would just come out and start telling corny joke after corny joke.”
It arguably was the most notable side that people saw, but Stradtner saw so much more.
“The best thing is can say right now is Reggie Bates was a true leader,” he said. “And those are hard to come by these days.”
Bates was known for many things beyond his 43-year career as a radio broadcaster. Bates was also a member of First Presbyterian Church in Ocean Springs where he served as the praise team leader for 16 years.
Just last month, dozens of people gathered outside Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula to pray and show their support for Bates’ recovery where he was in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
His passing is hard to take for Stradtner.
“A sad day. Today’s a sad day,” he said.
For many years, Bates organized fundraising events for charities, including St. Jude Children’s Hospital. That’s when he met Grammy Award-winning country artist Paul Overstreet.
“I got to know him really well,” Overstreet said. “And Reggie loved his Gulf Coast people. He was a good man.”
Overstreet said his demeanor will be one of the things he remembers most.
“He was very easy going in a way, but he could get you to do a lot of things with that demeanor,” Overstreet said with a laugh. “He could talk you into about anything.”
Bates also was also on board of the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance, which organizes the Mississippi Songwriters Festival and the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“He really helped us take things to the next level,” said alliance president George Cumbest. “Always passionate and always ready to do something.”
Their relationship was much more meaningful.
“We wrote songs together and shared stories and hung out and told secrets to each other,” he said. “We shared our good and our bad, you know. Just real good connections, a lot of trust. He was a good guy.”
Services are pending.
Bates will be posthumously inducted into the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame on Sept. 17 for his contributions to the event.