Judge David Clay Cates

October 8, 1959 ~ December 9, 2020 (age 61)

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Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Judge David Clay Cates died  at his home in Syracuse, Indiana from an apparent heart attack at 9:09 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at the age of 61.

He was born on October 8, 1959 in Evansville, Indiana to Mary Ann (Kapperman) Cates and the late Dr. Jeryl R. Cates.  On August 30, 2008 he was married to Kimberly Dawn (Reynolds) Cates. 

David graduated from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1982 before going on to I.U. School of Law.  He always remained an avid Purdue Fan.  He had been a resident of Kosciusko County, Indiana for the past 34 years moving to Syracuse, Indiana after graduating from Law School and earning his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University in 1985 where he graduated cum laude and was an honors graduate.  His first practice was with an office in the Pickwick Block in Syracuse. 

After leaving the practice with Steve Snyder, Cates worked with Rockhill-Pinnick then became a partner with Dick Green at Green and Cates and later Green, Cates and Grossnickle, LLP.  He was the second attorney in the history of the Wawasee Community School Corp., a position he held for 26 years from 1987 to 2013.

He belonged to the Indiana State and Kosciusko County Bar Associations, ABATE, Ducks Unlimited, John Purdue Club, Calvary United Methodist Church and American Legion Post 253 and was a life member of Purdue Alumni Association and Friends of the N.R.A.

David was elected as Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Judge in 2014, and again in 2020.  He was admitted to practice with the Indiana Supreme Court, Northern and Southern Federal District Courts and U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As a lawyer he was registered mediator, practiced in real estate, juvenile cases, civil litigation, domestic relations, criminal, estate planning and family law. He also was the former Kosciusko County Board of Realtors attorney.

In addition to serving as Wawasee Schools, he served for other corporations, townships, libraries, fire and sewer territories.  David served on the Republican staff of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984. He was past executive secretary of the Indiana Judicial Study Commission, Judicial Nominating Commission, and Judicial Qualifications Commission. He also was named honorary Indiana Secretary of State.

He was a Republican Party delegate to the Indiana Republican State Convention twice, served as sergeant of arms at the Indiana State Republican Convention, was active within the local Republican party serving as former vice-precinct committee man.

David was an avid fisherman, he also had a love of basketball and coached for 12 years  middle and elementary boys within the Wawasee School System.

His wife, Kimberly, serves on the Kosciusko County Council and always enjoyed boat rides as David fished.  He was past president of the Lakeland Youth Center Board of Directors, and past president of Lakeland Community Services Board (which oversaw the day care and latchkey programs).  He served Teen Parents Succeeding Board, Syracuse-Wawasee, Chamber of Commerce, Webster Lake Musky Club, past president of Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary,  prior K21 Health Foundation Board Member. He was also a past member of the Milford Library Board of Trustees, certified Indiana Hunter Education instructor, and Muskies Inc. International Fishing Organization President.    

His famous Grinch Christmas tie will be remembered, which he always wore during the holiday season and became his trademark.  David was a very intelligent man with a sly smile, kind spirit and a servant’s heart.  He will be forever loved and remembered as an amazing son, husband, dad, grandfather, and friend to many. 

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife:  Kimberly Dawn Cates (Syracuse, Indiana); two sons:  Jeryl (Alyssa) Cates (Warsaw, Indiana); Jeremy D. Cates (Milford, Indiana); step-son:  Christopher (Sydney) Webb (Denton, Texas); step-daughter:  Abbigail Webb (Miami, Florida); and his granddaughter:  Willow Webb (Denton, Texas).  Also surviving is his mother:  Mary Ann Cates (Avon, Indiana); and his sister:  Debbie (Larry) Hunt (Beach Grove, Indiana).  He was preceded in death by his father, Jeryl Cates in 1973 and infant son Andrew Patrick in 1992.

David’s life will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana and officiated by Pastor David Henry.  Friends and family may come and visit prior to the service from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. 

Memorial donations may be directed to Muskies, Inc. International Fisheries Fund, P.O. Box 1509 Waukesha, Wisconsin  53187-1509; or to the V Foundation for Cancer Research (commonly called Jimmy V), 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, North Carolina  27513.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judge David Clay Cates, please visit our floral store.


December 13, 2020

2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home
225 Argonne Road
Warsaw, IN 46580

Funeral Service
December 13, 2020

7:00 PM
Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home
225 Argonne Road
Warsaw, IN 46580

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