Dillard H. Gates
1925 - 2021

January 23, 1925 ˜ October 24, 2021

Dillard H. Gates, Ph.D. of Vancouver, WA, passed away peacefully Oct. 24, 2021, surrounded by family. Dillard was born on Jan. 23, 1925, in Gates, NE, where he was raised on a farm homesteaded by his grandfather and great-grandfather and graduated from Gates High in 1942.
As part of the Greatest Generation, Dillard enlisted in the US Coast Guard in 1942 and proudly served his country during WWII. Dillard spent 19 months at a Loran Station on Canton Island in the South Pacific and then returned to Nebraska to marry his high school sweetheart, Anastasia “Ann” (Mohatt) Gates in 1946.
After a stint with the US Geological Survey, Dillard enrolled at Kearney State Teachers College and the following year enrolled in the Agricultural College of the University of Nebraska where he received his Bachelor of Science in Soil Conservation. Wishing to continue his education, Dillard earned his Master of Science Degree in Agronomy in 1953 at the University of Nebraska and Ph.D. in Rangeland Management from Utah State University in 1955. Dillard then accepted a position at the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Southern Plains Experimental Range, in Woodward, OK. Dillard and Ann then transferred to Pullman, WA, in 1957 to establish an ARS cooperative research program with Washington State University. At this time Dillard received a courtesy appointment to the faculty of WSU and member of the faculty of the WSU Forestry and Range Department. In 1962, Dillard accepted a position with Oregon State University as Range Extension Specialist Associate Professor.
In 1969 Dillard took leave from OSU and accepted a request from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) to take a 3-month assignment in Baghdad, Iraq to assess the country’s livestock and rangeland programs. In 1970 he took a one-year sabbatical leave to help develop a Plan of Management for the 25 million acres of BLM land in California. Upon returning to OSU, Dillard continued as Rangeland Extension Specialist and became Director of the Rangeland Recourses Program.
Dillard resigned from OSU in Nov. 1974 to serve as senior range management specialist with the Agency for International Development (USAID). He was involved with rangeland management and related programs in 17 countries in Africa, plus several in the Middle East and Latin America. In 1975, Dillard was installed as President of the Society for Range Management and in 1980, he retired from USAID and returned to OSU to serve as Director of the Yemen Program. Dillard retired from OSU in 1983 but continued to work as an international rangeland management and dryland agricultural consultant serving several missions in the Middle East and more than a dozen in China. During his academic and research career he published over 65 papers and articles in various Scientific Journals and Trade Magazines. Dillard retained the honorary title of Professor Emeritus from Oregon State University. Although Dillard traveled the world, he never forgot his roots as a Nebraska farm boy and Cornhusker.
Following retirement, in 1998, Dillard published, “Hay, Hell, Kids & Cattle”, an autobiography of his early years growing up on a dryland farm, as one of 16 kids during the drought and depression, and “Then What Happened Papa”, a continuation autobiography covering his experiences in WWII through adulthood.
Dillard was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather and lived in Vancouver, WA, since 1986 following his retirement from Oregon State University.
Dillard is survived by his son, Howe (LeeAnn) Gates; and grandchildren, Laura (Eric) Bolek of Santa Barbara, CA, Allison Gates of Buellton, CA, and Gregory Gates of Vancouver, WA. Dillard is also survived by his sister, Lee Esterbrook of Berthoud, CO; and brother, Larry Gates of Burwell, NE. Dillard was preceded in death by Ann, his beloved wife of nearly 65 years and youngest son Charles Gates.
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Published by The Columbian on Jan. 2, 2022.
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So sorry for your loss. Dillard was such a wonderful man and our lives were fuller for having known him.
Beth Femling
January 3, 2022
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