Cover photo for Josephine Santina Bates's Obituary
Josephine Santina Bates Profile Photo
1925 Josephine 2020

Josephine Santina Bates

March 24, 1925 — May 27, 2020

Josephine S. Bates, 95, a resident of Cleveland, passed away peacefully Wednesday, May 27, 2020 with her loving family by her side.

She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Mary Falco Livoti; stepmother, Louise Sprague; sister, Anita DeBrizzi; and brother, Dr. Joseph G. Livoti; and her wonderful and loving husband of 57 years, Charles Lynn Bates.

Jo is survived by her son, William (Bill) L. Miller and wife Cheryl of Chattanooga; daughter, and caregiver Janie Arms of Cleveland; granddaughter, Rachel Miller-Tester and her husband, Robbie; two precious great-grandsons, Jaxson and Mac Tester; and Rachel’s mother, Dr. Phyllis Miller, of Chattanooga; brother, Cyrus Livoti and wife Cruz of Norwalk, California; several nieces and nephews, and many, many friends.

Jo graduated from Medford High School in Boston in 1943 and from the nursing program at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in 1946.  As a Cadet Nurse she ended up in Las Cruces, New Mexico (White Sands Proving Ground) where she met her love, Charlie, from Polk County, Tennessee, who was in the U.S. Army at the Guided Missile Center.

She remembers how Charlie “eyeballed” her when she walked down the corridor and said, “I think he liked the way I walked”.  Charlie brought the little feisty Italian from Boston to his hometown in Polk County. Let’s just say Polk County has never been the same.

Jo retired from a 30-year nursing career at Bradley Memorial Hospital as the Central Service Manager.  She and Charlie were long-standing members of First Baptist Church in Cleveland, where they were Directors of the Young Married Sunday School Department.

She was a very talented seamstress and made beautiful clothes and complicated majorette outfits for her daughter’s competitions.  She designed and made original “Classy Clowns from Clown Alley”.  Each one was extremely detailed, beautiful, and “one of a kind”.  She was a graduate of Clown College at Cleveland State Community College with the stage name of “Buttons”.

Jo and Charlie loved to play golf.  She once hit a hole-in-one at Rolling Hills Golf Course and never let her family and friends forget about it!

She had a lot of names to cover her huge personality.  She was affectionately known as Jo, Mrs. Jo, Josie, Grandma, Mother, “Wild Thing”, and sometimes “Floozy”.  She loved getting “dolled up”, as she would say, turning into her 90’s.  She did have a flair about her.  Even though she was a little Italian lady, she had a big, vibrant personality that could not be matched.  She was in a league of her own.  Always happy unless you got HER table at Wendy’s!  All that knew her loved her, and those that didn’t know her, wanted to know her.  She will forever be in our hearts.

A celebration of her life will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 31, 2020 in the chapel of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home with Reverend Jim Gibson officiating.   Interment will follow in Benton Cemetery with Steve Gibson, Cecil Harding, T. Roy Jones, and Dr. George Nerren, and Steve Jackson serving as pallbearers.  A white dove release ceremony and the playing of bagpipes will conclude the service.

The family will receive friends on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. prior to the service.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Bates family guestbook at






To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Josephine Santina Bates, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

A Gathering of Friends

Sunday, May 31, 2020

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Sunday, May 31, 2020

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 8

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree