Alma Geneva Gates, 92, of Niota passed away Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at her residence. A native of Happy Valley and a resident of Paint Rock, Maple Grove community, and McMinn County, she was a daughter of the late Charles Albert and Cora Amison Hearon; and her stepmother was Ruby Hearon. She loved tending to her garden and flowers. She enjoyed tidying the house and was a spectacular cook. She often talked about standing in a chair making cornbread at the age of six. She loved her family, was the matriarch of the family and was loved by all. She was preceded in death by her husband, Tom Ben Gates (2000); son, Donnie Ray Gates; grandson, Randy Gates; infant sister and several other brothers and sisters. Survivors include two sons and daughters-in-law, Ralph and Bobbie Ann Gates of Riceville, and Larry and Barbara Gates of Niota; daughter-in-law, Sharen Gates of Niota; brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Rita Hearon of Ten Mile; sisters, Joyce Brock of Knoxville, and Betty Whitted of Maryville; four grandchildren, Michael Gates, Valeria Nolan (Chris), Hannah Davidson (Scott), and Riley Gates; 11 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. The family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Jennie Byrd and her nurse, Christy. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, at McMinn Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the funeral home. Those unable to attend may send condolences at Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home of Athens is in charge of arrangements.

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