ELPO helps Cate family donate to charity

by Mandy Hicks

Members of the Cate family recently presented a check to WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell. Shown from left to right are Donald Smith, President of the College Heights Foundation, Ransdell, Jenna Davis, great niece of Buddy and Joy Cate, Joey Davis, nephew of the Cates, and Marsha Jo Hayden, niece of the Cates.
Members of the Cate family recently presented a check to WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell. Shown from left to right are Donald Smith, President of the College Heights Foundation, Ransdell, Jenna Davis, great niece of Buddy and Joy Cate, Joey Davis, nephew of the Cates, and Marsha Jo Hayden, niece of the Cates.

Wishing for their funds to be useful after their deaths, a local couple bequeathed significant funds to five area charitable organizations. Local Western Kentucky University basketball legend William “Buddy” Cate, who died in February 2011, and his wife, Joy Davis Cate, who died in November 2013, created trusts from which charitable gifts are made after the Cates’ deaths. English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP is serving as the attorney for the trustees of the Cates’ trusts.

During their lifetime, the Cates gave to these charities and continued by giving more than $600,000 from their estates. The organizations receiving gifts from the Cates’ trusts are:

• The College Heights Foundation, which will have a William B. and Joy Davis Cate Scholarship Fund in their memory. The scholarship will go to a full-time WKU student and will favor those who are economically disadvantaged.
• Foundation Christian Academy, Bowling Green, Kentucky; the school was started as an outgrowth of Greenwood Park Church of Christ.
Greenwood Park Church of Christ, Bowling Green, Kentucky
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
The Salvation Army in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Western Kentucky University President Dr. Gary Ransdell said the university is grateful for the gift.

“WKU students benefit greatly from generous alumni and friends such as Buddy and Joy Cate,” Ransdell says. “Because of the endowed scholarship commitment from the Cate family and their belief in the importance of education, students at WKU who need financial assistance will receive a helping hand to allow them to pursue their dreams of a college education. All of us at WKU are grateful for their planning and preparation to include the College Heights Foundation at WKU in their estate, and we will celebrate the memory of the Cate family and their thoughtfulness as we award the Cate scholarship to a deserving student each year in perpetuity.”

For Foundation Christian Academy, the bequest from the Cates is a significant boost. The Cates were strong supporters from its inception and previously donated to help buy the land on which the school is built. The school opened in 1995 and the Cates offered continued financial support to the school. According to Blane Embry, president of FCA, enrollment is at its highest levels and the bequest will be useful in paying on the school’s mortgage, for future expansion, and a gym.

The Cates were members of the Greenwood Park Church of Christ and had been for at least 40 years. The Greenwood Park Church of Christ started FCA in 1995.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital will use the bequest for housing and treatment for patients and for research. A St. Jude’s representative says, “St. Jude’s operates on the generosity of its people and those dedicated to its life-saving mission. People like Mr. and Mrs. Cate believe that something special is being accomplished at our hospital. We are grateful for their gift.”

Captain Mark Love of The Salvation Army in Bowling Green says the bequest from the Cates’ trusts will be split between capital trust and endowment accounts. This generous gift will allow The Salvation Army to expand its services and provide long-term financial stability. Love says the organization is currently working on plans to enlarge the Center of Hope homeless shelter. The Cates’ gift will be a significant boost to help The Salvation Army move forward with its plans. “This gift has really energized our Advisory Board,” Love says. “The Army has a very strong presence in Bowling Green, mainly due to the generosity of our community partners. We serve over 7,000 meals a month and operate our Center of Hope Shelter here for those who are homeless. We have limited capacity for households with children right now, and we think that within the next year, we will need to focus on expanding our facility to meet that particular need.”

The Cates’ Story

William Boyd “Buddy” Cate lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky until he died in February 2011 at the age of 84. He began his remarkable basketball career in 1941 at Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tennessee. After completion of high school, he went into the U.S. Army where he served in the South Pacific in World War II. e earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at WKU, where he played four years of varsity basketball.

The teams Cate was a member of are considered some of the greatest in WKU’s history. From 1947-50, the WKU Hilltoppers amassed a three-year record of 103-16 and participated in three NIT Tournaments, then college basketball’s national championship event.

A basketball All-American, he was inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Wesleyan Hall of Fame, Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, the Cleveland/Bradley County Old Timers Hall of Fame, and the Bradley Central High School Hall of Fame. He played professional basketball with the Waterloo (Iowa) Hawks.

Upon retiring from active play in basketball, Buddy Cate entered the coaching ranks. His high school coaching career spanned 10 years as he coached successful seasons in Alabama and Kentucky, one of those positions being the first boys’ basketball coach at Warren East High School. His college coaching tenure included seven years as head basketball coach at Tennessee Wesleyan College, followed by being an assistant coach for the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association.

After leaving coaching, he became an entrepreneur and accomplished salesman owning and operating the CDS Drugstore on the corner of 10th and State streets in Bowling Green and was later the owner of the Salvage Mart. He was a carpenter and a real estate and stock investor.

Buddy met Joy Davis at WKU and they were married for 62 years. Joy Davis Cate obtained a master’s degree from WKU and was a retired teacher. She was also a part owner of CDS Drugstore and Salvage Mart. The Cates are survived by siblings, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

About ELPO Law

English Lucas Priest & Owsley LLP, the largest law firm in Southcentral Kentucky, offers business clients and individuals the experience and depth of a large firm and the personal commitment and attention of a small one. For more than 40 years, the firm has worked with clients to develop creative solutions to difficult legal and business problems. The firm is located in Bowling Green, Ky.