Welcome to the memorial page for

Rozena Bates

March 24, 1928 ~ July 9, 2017 (age 89)

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Rozena Bates, 89, of Morehead City, passed away Sunday, July 9, 2017 at Harborview Health Care Center.

The family will be conducting a memorial service 3:00 pm Sunday, July 16, 2017 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Morehead City.

She is survived by her daughter, Janice Bates-West of Morehead City; sister, Margaret Chatman of Cinnaminson, NJ; sister-in-law, Virginia J. Bates of Glassboro, NJ; grandchildren, Gina Williams, Eric Bates, Shannon Bates, Tara Oliver, Kristine West, and Brian West; great-grandchildren, Eric Bates, Abdul Brown, Dante Williams, Matthew Bates, Xavier West; great-great grandchildren, Tavion Outlaw, Abdul Brown, Jr.; and a host of other family members.  

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Donnis Oliver; and her parents, William Henry Bates and Mattie Belle Grady Bates.  

Rozena Bates was born on March 24, 1928 in Cismont, VA to Mattie Belle and William Henry Bates, both of whom died when Rozena was quite young. Rozena, three sisters and younger brother were sent to Ocean City, NJ, to live in separate foster homes. After graduating from Ocean City High School in 1946, third in her class, she attended the Hampton Institute for three years. Unable to complete her education, she returned to Ocean City where she later met Leroy Grice, with whom she had twin daughters, Janice and Donnis.  Rozena lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the girls were born, for five years.

While in Philadelphia, Rozena was introduced to the truth, and in 1957 she was baptized. She moved to Woodbine, NJ where she worked first in a shirt factory and later as a domestic in nearby Sea Isle City.  She and the girls attended Woodbine’s small, tightly knit Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Raising her daughters alone was not easy, but she received support and comfort from her siblings and the congregation.

In the summer of 1963, Rozena worked for the first Summer Head Start program under teacher Marjorie Rosenfeld. She decided to return to college at Philadelphia’s Temple University.  After a year, the family returned to Ocean City, where Rozena helped start the Ocean City Head Start program, becoming its first classroom teacher. Over the years, she became well-known for her natural love of children.

After completing her degree at Glassboro State College, Rozena left Head Start to become the classroom teacher at the Woodbine Day Care Center under Cape Human Resources, Inc. Once again, her work with children and families endeared her to many.  She continued there until her retirement in 2007.

Although Rozena’s work consumed much of her time, she continued her association with the Woodbine Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And after her retirement, she became more active in the ministry.  In July of 2008, she moved to Morehead City, NC to be closer to Janice. The two of them regularly attended the Morehead Congregation, and Rozena was able to step up her service in the ministry through Telephone Witnessing.  She also took time with young members of the congregation, encouraging them, as well as mature members, to be steadfast in the truth, always with uplifting comments and personal counsel to those close to her heart.

On September 13, 2016, Rozena had a stroke. Upon her release from the hospital, she was admitted to Harborview Rehabilitation & Care Center. Rozena put up a strong fight. As her physical condition declined, her faith and her pleasant disposition did not waver. Harborview staff would linger in her room, offering comfort to her and family members, often commenting that they wished all their patients were like minded.

Rozena – also known as Miss Bates, Aunt Rose and Nanny – passed away on Sunday, July 9, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Attn: Accounting, 900 Red Mills Road, Wallkill, NY 12589-3223.

Online condolences may be made at www.mundenfuneralhome.net

Arrangements are by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Morehead City, NC.


Charitable donations may be made to:

 Service Information

Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, Morehead City
324 McCabe Rd
Newport, NC 28570

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