Obituary of Stanley John Grates
July 17, 2017
Stanley John Grates passed peacefully on June 5, 2017 in Grass Valley, California. He was 97. Stan was a beloved father to his son, stepdaughter and stepson and a brother to his 10 siblings. He will be remembered for being a loving, humorous, hardworking, individual and will be greatly missed. Stan was born July 7, 1919, in Bad Axe, MI to Thomas B. Grates and Frances Kociba. In 1944 he married his first wife, Olive E. Gavitt a lovely lady, who later, sadly, passed away. In 1987 he married another lovely lady, Fern A McDonald until she passed away in 1999. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1938 until 1945. Aside from being stationed on various bases where he received training on aircraft engines he also was sent to the Curtiss Wright engine factory for training. Stan served on the USS Rigel, USS Marblehead, USS Long Island and served with VP-9 on the USS Essex, CASU-7 and CASU-50. He made the rank of Chief Petty Officer 2 years old and was offered an Officers Commission at the end of the war. Stan instead choose to work for different airlines over the next seven years working in management positions related to aviation maintenance before starting a 26 year career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Stan held management positions in San Juan Batista, San Luis Obispo, and in Arizona. When he was offered to manage the San Jose Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO), which he ran for 7 years, he jumped at the chance, as he wanted to retire in California. His luck continued as he was promoted to run the Air Carrier Division in San Francisco until his retirement in 1984. He retired as a GS-15. After his retirement he spent much of his time working on his walnut orchard in Hollister, California until moving to the northern foothills to Rescue, CA then to Grass Valley and then back to his roots in Michigan for two years. Stan came back to Lincoln, CA and eventually to Eskaton in Grass Valley. Stan loved traveling and flying in his own plane. He would tell many interesting war stories from WWII and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would keep us thoroughly entertained.
Stan is survived by his son Tom Grates, step-daughter Gayle Amato and step-son-in-law James Fitzpatrick, brothers Jim, Earl and Raymond Grates in MI, his youngest sister, Sister Mary Ann Grates of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, MI and numerous nieces and nephews as well as many friends. Per Stanley's wishes there will be no services or celebration of life.