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On Dec. 26, 2021, Elijah Demetrius Bates, of Cobbs Creek, Virginia, and a sophomore at Mathews High School, died unexpectedly in Orange County, Virginia. Elijah was on the track team and loved to play basketball; however, his family was always first. He was a health-conscious young man and made sure to stay in shape. Biological father, Ryan A. Smith; paternal grandfather, George A. Smith, and his maternal grandfather, Carlton C. Hughes, preceded Elijah in death. His mother, Maria Hughes; earthly father, Wendell Elijah Bates; sisters, Chasity Hearn and Yasmine Newton; grandparents, Delphia Ferguson (Mark), Dyretta Bates, Cassandra Kelly; maternal great-grandparents, St. Elmo Jr. and Janette Smith; paternal great-grandmothers, Sandra L. Kelly, Annie Mae Blackwell; uncle, Carlos C. Hughes; aunt, Jordan A. Smith, and a host of cousins, great-uncles, and great-aunts survive him. On Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at 11 a.m., the family received friends in Newington Baptist Church, 6169 Main Street, Gloucester, Virginia 23061. The funeral service began at noon, conducted by the Rev. Eric Robinson, and eulogy by Minister Wesley Cropp, followed by interment at Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery, 3061 Buckley Hall Road, Cobbs Creek. Following the burial, the family gathered for fellowship at the Piankatank Ruritan Club, 7138 Buckley Hall Road, Hudgins, Va. 23076. Due to immediate family health issues, everyone in the church wore a mask.

Services under the direction of Hogg Funeral Home.