Linwood T. Bates, Salesman

Posted: December 24, 1987

Linwood Tomlinson Bates, a traveling salesman who hit the road for more than 35 years with a sample case and a smile, died Dec. 14. He was 69 and lived in St. Augustine, Fla.

Bates worked for a number of companies throughout the country and won awards for his salesmanship. In what many consider the toughest kind of sales - walk in off the street with a display case and a pitch - he never burned out because he believed in what he was doing, said his daughter, Evelynne Stoklosa.

Born and raised in Camden during the Depression, Bates spent much of his time working to help the family. He stacked pins in bowling alleys, caddied and worked in an ice cream parlor. As a youngster he was fascinated by sales, and it was the gift of a gold pen that made him decide that one day he would sell things this beautiful, recalled his daughter.

The turning point in his life came toward the end of his Navy hitch during World War II. The handsome 6-foot-5 sailor was stationed aboard the USS Sablefish in San Diego and was picked to spend the day with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. It turned into more than a morale-publicity event, Stoklosa said.

The three spent the whole day together - eating, playing golf, traveling in a limousine. Bates would recall in later years how Hope had taken him aside and given him some life philosophy that left an indelible imprint.

Stoklosa said that the one day with Hope infused her father with a sense of confidence and direction he would never lose.

He was a salesman for the Whitman Candy Co. from 1946 to 1951, and was being groomed as an executive, but "there were jerks on the corporate ladder who got in his way" and he decided he was better off staying on the street, his daughter said.

He later went to work for the Hamilton Watch Co., but after he was robbed for the third time in Chicago, they fired him. He was immediately picked up by the Bulova Watch Co. They liked his work so much that they created a special territory for him in the Florida, Georgia and Alabama region. He worked for Bulova from 1963 to 1980, when he retired.

Stoklosa said her father had a pitch that was "very witty and used a lot of humor. He always made the customer feel like they were special. They were No. 1, not him." She said he could talk on any subject for any length of time and yes, he knew a joke for any occasion.

Bates was a member of Toastmasters, and often would weave into his talks before civic clubs the subject of world peace, saying the power to bring it about "is within ourselves. We're just not using it."

He was an avid golfer, and loved to smoke and drink but gave up drinking a number of years ago, his daughter said.

She said that when he wasn't selling, he was quiet, almost introspective - "into himself, probably gathering his thoughts . . . When he was selling, he was one helluva showman."

He took numerous courses at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and at Temple University. He also attended many Dale Carnegie public speaking seminars.

Stoklosa once complained to him that, as a teacher, she found herself recycling the same lessons every six months and it was boring her. He snapped back, "I give the same presentation every time I go in to make a sale." He told her to work at keeping her lessons fresh and exciting.

She said he was able to do it "because he believed in it."

Stoklosa said her mother, Eve Widzenas Bates, and her sister, Lynda Teza Bates, were now traveling through the United States and the Caribbean, stopping from time to time to scatter his ashes near the highways he once traveled.

In addition to his wife and daughters, Bates is survived by a sister, Dorcas B. Reilly; two grandchildren, Phillip J. and Kristine L. Stoklosa; and a son-in-law, Leslie E. Stoklosa.

A memorial service will be held next spring in Haddonfield, N.J.


Services were to be held this morning for Herbert A. Mullin, a former employee of the Publicker Industries Inc. distillery in Philadelphia, who died Tuesday. He was 77 and lived in Glenolden, Delaware County.

Formerly of Philadelphia, Mullin worked as a fireman and stillman at the plant. He was a former member of Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Philadelphia and was an active amateur basketball player until he was almost 60. His wife was the former Mary V. Malley, who died in 1973.

He is survived by two sons, Herbert R. and John J. Mullin; and three grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated at 11 a.m. today at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church, South Avenue, Secane, Delaware County. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul and Crum Creek roads, Marple Township, Delaware County.


Edward C. Partridge Sr., a retired businessman, died Tuesday. He was 85 and lived in Folcroft, Delaware County.

Originally from Philadelphia, Partridge owned and operated an oil business in South Philadelphia from 1941 until 1964. He was a member of Mount Horeb- Phoenix Lodge 432, F&AM. His wife, the former Mary C. Ballentine, died last year.

He is survived by two sons, Edward C. Partridge Jr. and William D. Smith; a daughter, Bertha L. Owens; two brothers, Fred and William Partridge; two sisters, Laura Kiesel and Ivie Speed; three grandchildren; and three great- grandchildren.

Services will be at noon Saturday at the Cavanaugh Family Funeral Home, 301 Chester Pike, Norwood, where friends may call two hours before the service. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul and Crum Creek roads, Marple Township, Delaware County.


Burial was to be this morning for Sister M. Rita Clare Pettrutzie, O.S.F., a teacher for more than 50 years. Sister Rita Clare, who died Tuesday, was 73.

Formerly of Camden, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1929 and professed her vows in 1932. She was a graduate of Villanova University. She had taught in schools in Minersville, Orwigsburg, Doylestown, Catasaque, Brockton, Whitehall, Lost Creek, Media, Marcus Hook, Ashland, Bethlehem, Lansdale, Easton and Lenni, Pa.

In 1983 she was transferred to Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston, Delaware County, where she carried out an apostolate in parish ministry at the Immaculate Conception parish in Marcus Hook. She also was an accomplished musician and artist and had served as a choir director at various times.

She is survived by two sisters, Anne Maff and Betty Weigl; and a brother, Anthony Petrucce.

Burial was to be at 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, Aston.

Contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Retirement Fund, Aston, Pa. 19041.

comments powered by Disqus