Cover photo for Orpheus Edward Bates's Obituary
Orpheus Edward Bates Profile Photo
1967 Orpheus 2023

Orpheus Edward Bates

May 24, 1967 — August 7, 2023



Orpheus Edward Bates, beloved son, brother, uncle, grandson, and friend, passed away at home in Portland.  He is survived by his mother, Penelope O’Reilly of Portland, OR; father, Frederick Bates (Ellen Benjamin) of Chicago, IL; brothers Paul Bates (Renee) and Matthew Bates; niece, Amelia Bates of Portland, OR; and numerous uncles, aunts and cousins.


Born on May 24, 1967, in Evanston, Illinois, Orpheus attended Evanston Township High School, The California Institute of the Arts and Columbia College in Chicago.  Most importantly, Orpheus was a gentle and kind soul.  He was loved by all who knew him and will remain in our hearts. He was a practitioner of Tai Chi, a student of The Way of the Buddha and St. Francis of Assisi, and a great companion to his adopted service dog, Lemon. 


A gifted musician, he worked composing and recording in Chicago and Los Angeles.  He toured or performed with Sabalon Glitz (Lollapalooza), Plush, Urge Overkill, The Webb Brothers, Yum-Yum, Supermodel, America UK and Red Red Meat. 


Orpheus later taught guitar for many years.  He was a talented and revered instructor who is fondly remembered by students and their parents.  His inspirational teaching was augmented by kind mentoring and an encyclopedic knowledge of diverse musical genres, allowing him to discuss and appreciate the Beach Boys as comfortably as Indian ragas. Health challenges and disabilities ended his ability to work but his lifelong devotion to music continued.


He was an enduring friend to many younger adults, offering compassion and empathy.  He was politically passionate, hoping for a better world.  Though frustrated by what he understood to be the failings of governance, he never lost hope for change.  May he continue singing to all of us.

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


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