Margaret Rider Bates had a knack for taking care of her customers. Her 48 years as a hairdresser and 32 years as owner of The Hair Place at Gainesville Towne Center attest to that.
The Gainesville woman died Tuesday at the age of 73, and friends and family are remembering the love and generosity she shared with so many.
Martha Askew, who worked with Bates in the early years of The Hair Place, said the longtime hairdresser would go to nursing homes and do customers’ hair without charging them.
Johnny Pridgen, who worked with her for eight years at The Hair Place, recalled how Bates would pick up some customers, cut their hair and then drive them back home.
“She went out of her way to help anybody,” Pridgen said.
Dwight Miller previously cleaned the floors at Bates’ hair shop and recalled “she could cut some hair fast.” He has had leukemia for four years, and in that time, he regularly went to get his hair cut by Bates. She “wouldn’t take a dime” for it.
“That’s the kind of person she was,” Miller said.
Janet Bryant moved to Gainesville in 1986 and was teaching Tanya Bates Hagwood, Margaret Bates’ daughter. Bryant hadn’t been able to find someone to cut her hair and heard Tanya talking about Margaret Bates cutting hair. Bryant began getting her hair cut by Margaret Bates and never went to anybody else.
“She was such a people person,” Bryant said. “She loved people, and you could tell that by being in her shop and around her.”
Tanya Bates Hagwood said it was “utterly amazing how strong” her mother was.
“If she didn’t teach us anything, she taught us love,” Hagwood said.
Bates is survived by her husband of 53 years, Jimmy Bates; daughters, Tammy Bates Nolan and Tanya Bates Hagwood; four grandchildren and two stepgrandchildren.
The funeral is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Gainesville.
Family and friends both recalled how important her family and her garden were to Bates.
Patricia Farr, who went to first grade with Bates, said her friend’s personality attracted people. They would regularly go on trips together.
Billy White, whose family members had their hair cut by Bates for years, said her genuine nature and how she treated people stood out.
“She was the same Margaret every time you saw her,” White said.
Kim Buffington worked in Bates’ hair shop as Buffington was beginning to cut hair. She appreciated the way Bates allowed her to apprentice at The Hair Place without having to pay rent.
“She was always a special lady. She didn’t hold grudges,” Buffington said. “She was humble, thoughtful, always took time out to help somebody.”
Pridgen said Bates, a member of East Hall Baptist Church, was a “good Christian woman” who could sometimes be found sitting down reading her Bible at the hair shop.
“She didn’t judge you,” Pridgen said. “She cared about you and loved you, no matter who you were.”