OBITUARY: Thomas Alan Bates

Thomas Alan Bates, 69, a resident of Groton, MA for 29 years, died peacefully on December 2, 20 at the Heritage Nursing Center in Lowell, after a valiant 14 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. His wife Eleanor and son Kevin were by his side.

Thomas served on the Groton Planning Board in the late 80s and early 90s, and helped craft the town’s Master Plan during that time.

He grew up in Manasquan, New Jersey, where he excelled in piano performance and composition, as well as soccer. He attended Ohio Wesleyan College and Berklee School of Music in the mid to late 60’s. An avid jazz fan, he recorded an impressive array of jazz greats as a young man. In early adulthood, he worked as a studio pianist, an audio engineer, a sales manager at Cramer Electronics in Boston, and a teacher at Harvardhouse School of the Arts and Humanities in Littleton.

Tom moved on to work as a technical and sound engineer for several years at Sound Ideas Studios in Manhattan, with many high-profile clients including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. While living in New York City, he also worked for Saturday Night Live and the Metropolitan Opera.

Tom won multiple Grammy awards working independently on diverse musical projects in the categories of New Age and World Music. On location in Nepal, he donated his time and expertise to record and mix the chants of Buddhist nuns and monks, enabling them to raise much-needed funds.

His legacy to the audio community also exists in the Lynx TimeLine synchronizer, which he invented and developed with partner Gerry Block.

Tom continued to inspire and innovate for many years as a much-loved instructor and lecturer at Tufts University, The University of Lowell, and the Parsons Center for Audio Studies.

His in-depth electronic knowledge, finely tuned ears, out-of-the-box problem solving strategies, and enthusiastic communication skills earned him a unique reputation in the recording community. His love of sound, and our human interaction with it, was exceeded only by his desire to generously share this knowledge.

Thomas is survived by his wife of 41 years Eleanor (Smith) Bates and son Kevin Bates of Groton, and his half sister Lee Bates Hatfield of Waltham.

Memorial services will be private.

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