Builders' Merchants News
Obituary: John Bate
Published:  14 June, 2013

John Bate, managing director of Rowlinson Timber, died on 25 May 2013 aged 53 after losing his bravely fought battle with cancer.

John left college aged 20 and joined Rowlinson Timber in December 1980 where he began working in the stock control and sales office, and this was where he started to learn about trading in softwood and other building materials. He was appointed to the position of sales director in 1990 and 6 years later to managing director.

He built up relationships with sawmills throughout the world including Canada, Germany and Scandinavia, but mainly the Baltic States and Russia, where he consistently demonstrated his natural ability to bring all kinds of people together, and he always had time to speak to anyone that wanted to chat with him.

He was always the archetypal Englishman abroad and always wore his pinstripe suit. When he flew budget airlines, John was in that suit. When it was over 30°C in the Estonian summer, John was in that suit. Even in the evenings when he was relaxing, John was in that suit. It was often joked that he went to bed in it!

John was a true gentleman and well respected by many members of the Timber Trade in the UK, Baltics, Canada and Scandinavia, where he brought a level of honesty and integrity to the trade.

John had many interests outside of work and his love of his family and friends was followed closely by his passion of Massey Ferguson tractors.

He will be sadly missed by all that knew him and his kindness and generosity will be remembered by all who came into contact with him.

He is survived by his wife Kim and sons Thomas and Joseph.