Arcola recently celebrated her 90th birthday on April 3, 2023. She is the third child of Andrew and Isabell Spencer and was born on April 3, 1933. She was raised in Escalante and spent most of her life there.
Our loving mother, grandmother, and aunt, Arcola Spencer Gates, passed away on October 25, 2023 at her home in Escalante. She will be greatly missed by all who know her. She had a contagious smile and laugh.
She graduated from Escalante High School in 195l and then attended the BYU and later on she attended SUSC in Cedar City. She and Pratt Gates started dating and she married him on May 25, 1955 in the St. George Temple. They made their home in Escalante and welcomed three children to their family, Margo, Carol, and Darren.
Pratt, her husband, owned and ran a cattle ranch. Arcola was Pratt’s right-hand cow girl. Their daily life revolved around farm work, gardening, and raising their children. They lived in close vicinity of their parents, and Arcola’s siblings, Thelma Cottam, Vernon Spencer, and Janeal Chatterton.
As a girl, Arcola enjoyed riding horses, and she helped her father round up cows and do the farm work. She had a very close relationship with her father. She had a great love of horses. She and her husband were members of the Escalante Riding Club and helped with many rodeos and horse races. They had many friends in this group and cherish the good memories they made.
Arcola’s gift of playing the piano and the organ gave her the opportunity of serving in the church and the community as an accompanist for the community programs, schools, and her church responsibilities. She was the accompanist for her sister, Thelma Cottam, for the Singing Mothers for over 40 years. She also played the organ for church services throughout her life. Also, she blessed young lives by teaching them how to play the piano. Arcola loved to dance and would often be seen kicking up her heels with her brother, Vernon, as they enjoyed the local dances. Arcola’s best friends were her sister Thelma and sister-in-law Rula. They spent many hours together shopping for Christmas, decorating floats for the 24th and raising their children together. Her nickname was “Pepsi”. Her passions in life were shoes, clothes, and jewelry.
As life went on, Arcola was hired as the high school secretary. She also worked at the elementary school. In her later years, she moved to St. George and worked at the IFA store. She enjoyed being around grandchildren and living close to her daughter Carol in the St. George area. After retiring, she returned to Escalante and settled back into her home and the community. She loves her children dearly and always looked forward to family get together’s as they arrive home for celebrations. She and her husband have been able to remain in their home with the help and daily care of their daughter, Margo, and the support of family members in Escalante. Her husband, Pratt, recently turned 92 and has helped with the care of Arcola.
Arcola is survived by her husband, Pratt; and children: Margo Smith, Escalante; Carol (Russell) Sorensen, St. George; and Darren Gates, Queen’s Creek, AZ. They have 7 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-granddaughter. She is survived by one sister, Janeal (Jerry) Chatterton; and many nephews and nieces.
Preceded in death by her parents; son-in-law, Jim Smith; great-granddaughter, Genevieve Gates; siblings: Thelma (Doyle) Cottam, Vernon (Rula) Spencer.
The family wish to thank all people that have helped in the care of Arcola and hospice.
Graveside services and interment will be held Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. in the Escalante Cemetery. Family and friends may call visitation from 9:00 – 10:30 am in the Escalante Stake Center. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at www.maglebymortuary.com