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June 23, 1926 – October 2, 2013

Esther B. Bates, a former elementary teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, died Wednesday. She was 87.

Born Esther Neustätter in Munich, she escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, immigrating to Baltimore with her parents.

Mrs. Bates earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s in education from the University at Buffalo. She taught nursery school at Temple Beth El, Hebrew School at Temple Sinai, preschool at Head Start and elementary school in the Buffalo Public Schools.

A member of the Biblical Archaeological Society, Mrs. Bates participated in archaeological digs. She was a docent at the Buffalo Museum of Science, was president of Buffalo Hadassah and Temple Sinai, was on the board of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation and hosted foreign visitors through her work with what is now the International Institute of Buffalo. She was a staunch civil rights advocate.

Mrs. Bates’ husband of more than 60 years, Martin Bates, predeceased her. Survivors include two sons, Ron Bihovsky and David Bates, and a daughter, Becki Bates.

Services were held over the weekend at Congregation Shir Shalom on Sheridan Drive in Amherst and at Weinberg Campus in Getzville, where she lived.