Professor John Bates
Professor John Frederick Bates died on Friday 23 March, aged 83. With his tranquil Christian faith he showed lion-hearted courage and a happy spirit in the face of a longstanding affliction of his lungs.
John was born at Carlton, Nottingham. He was a man of his age growing up in the twenties and thirties and who with much courage experienced the vicissitudes of the Second World War. From 1943 to 1946 he served as a radar technician in the Fleet Air Arm with the Home Fleet protecting Russian Convoys and later in the Far East.
On demobilisation he faced the up-hill struggle that many other ex-servicemen underwent in establishing a professional career. As a sportsman he excelled at tennis and rowing.
He qualified in Dental Surgery from the University of Durham in 1953 followed by appointments in Prosthetic Dentistry at the University of Manchester Dental School.
John Bates was appointed as senior lecturer in 1964 and to the Chair in Restorative Dentistry in 1968 at the newly-formed University of Wales Dental School. The title of Restorative Dentistry replaced Prosthetic Dentistry as it reflected the wider scope of the discipline, now covering fixed as well as removable appliances and dental implants. He established a three-year full-time training programme for dental apprentices, and experienced and senior technicians were graded as Instructors and graded as academic staff. The latter taught the dental students in technology allowing the dental staff to teach clinical skills to the students.
John was mainly responsible for establishing a Dental Materials Unit that taught students how to relate the properties of new materials to their clinical use.
John blazed a trail through his teaching and research that revolutionised the range of treatment for patients. He formed an unusual and valuable relationship with the Swedish Dental Schools in Malmo and Gothenburg and in 1982 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Odontology honoris causa from the University of Lund.
John reached the pinnacle of his discipline and among his many honours was the Triennial Gold Medal Award of the British Society for the Study of Prosthetic Dentistry in 1984.
He was a perfect gentleman, ever gracious and so modest. He nurtured long friendships and commanded deep affection and respect.
Our condolences go to his wife Nancy and all his family.
Emeritus Professor Brian E D Cooke, Founder Dean, Dental School, Cardiff University