Rella Murr Bates of Jenners Pond

Rella Murr Bates, 94, of Jenners Pond, died peacefully during her sleep on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Rella was born a Tennessee farm girl with brothers David and Curtis, and sisters Connie and Alene. An ethic of hard work, persistence and grit were instilled in her from these early years of helping out her parents, David and Beulah on the farm.

Recruited out of high school, she began her employment at the now historic, Oak Ridge Power Plant where, unbeknownst to her, she was an integral part of the Manhattan Project to help build “the bomb”!

During her time there, a young Alan Bates had arrived to also work on The Project in a different capacity, working at Union Carbide, while also completing his masters degree from MIT. That's where destiny stepped in, when they met and began dating.

On one fateful day in the winter, a few months after they began to date, Rella had a bad fall on the ice on the way to see a local football game and had a bad cut on her head. Rushed to the emergency room, and after getting stitches, Alan then realized that he wanted to take care of her for the rest of her life. He proposed then and there. Married in 1951, their first child, Stephanie, came along two years later, followed by their son, Douglas. Sixty-nine years of wedded bliss.

Upon Alan getting employment at Atlas Chemical, they moved to Wilmington, Delaware which is where they raised their family.  They later moved to Hockessin, Delaware, and, finally to Jenner's Pond Retirement Community in West Grove, in 1999.

Rella had an avid interest in gardening (growing not only decorative plants, but an extensive vegetable garden), cooking (no one could compare with Rella’s down-home, from-the-heart cooking), and sewing (making a lot of her and her daughter’s clothes) and took great pride in decorating the house for the holidays, and gatherings with family and friends. Christmas was her favorite time of the year for that.

Her other passions were dance (taking a weekly dance class for 20 years), bowling (which in the later years became Wii bowling), yoga (maintaining the flexibility of a 20-year-old into her 70s) and tai chi. She and Alan also loved ballroom dancing.

When they moved to Jenners Pond, she began doing volunteer work at Jennersville Hospital, and helped create (with her husband) a beautiful nature walking trail there for all to enjoy, which is her legacy to this day. 

One of her greatest joys was seeing and hearing the gifts of music that her two children gave her, as they both were (and are) professional entertainers. 

Besides her two children being her pride and joy, she was very close to and loved spending time with her grandchildren, Cambia and Cody, and (most recently) her little great granddaughter, who bears her name…little Rella. 

All these statistics of a beautiful life, well and fully lived, don’t begin to paint the picture of the essence of who Rella was.

She lit up all of our lives with her zest for life, her beautiful smile and infectious laugh, her all-embracing spirit, and most of all, her very large heart. 

Heaven is now a far richer place with her there. 

Due to COVID concerns, for now, there will be no remembrance services.  An announcement will be shared should that change. If you wish to make a gift in her name, the family is very grateful to Willow Tree Hospice for their care of Rella. Also, Salvation Army is one of her favorite charities, as is the Macular Degeneration Society. Thank you

To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, please visit

Arrangements by the Foulk Funeral Home, West Grove.

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