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April 18, 1965 – Dec. 4, 2012

Michael J. Gates, past chief of the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company, died Tuesday in his Hamburg home after a lengthy illness. He was 47.

A lifelong resident of Hamburg, he was a graduate of Frontier Central High School and Erie Community College. He worked as a printer for ElderWood Senior Care for more than 18 years.

Mr. Gates was very active in the volunteer fire service, starting as a junior firefighter in 1977 at the Lake Shore fire company. He became a firefighter in 1983. He founded the fire company’s Exempt Sportsman Club in 1989 and the Exempt Drum Corps in 1991. He loved parades and Field Days, and he marched with the fire company and drum corps for many years.

He served in many positions with the fire company, including chief, and he was a life member.

He was a member of the Hamburg Town Fire Council and Hamburg Town Chiefs, where he was a past fire coordinator. He also was a member of the Erie County, Southwestern, Western and New York State firemen’s associations and was president of the Southwestern association. He was a past member of the Erie County Fire Advisory Board.

He also was a member of the Lake Erie Beach Fire Company Men’s Auxiliary and a past member of the Pine Hill Hose Company Drum and Bugle Corps.He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman.

Mr. Gates is survived by his wife, Mary M.; three daughters, Kaelyn E., Leigh Ann and Allyson Tayler; his father, George C.; a brother, Melvin G., and a sister, Odella Madeja.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 4737 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg.