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MacFarlane Lafferty Cates Jr.

November 9, 1927 ~ May 2, 2021 (age 93)


MacFarlane “Mac” Lafferty Cates, Jr., 93, of Spartanburg, SC, head of a prominent Spartanburg textile family and dedicated philanthropist, died Sunday, May 2, 2021, at his home. Born November 9, 1927 in Spartanburg, SC, he was the son of the late MacFarlane Lafferty Cates, Sr. and Mary Sydnor DuPré Cates.

Mr. Cates attended public school in Spartanburg and was a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. He received his BA degree from Princeton University and a MBA from Harvard University. He was with Ludlow Manufacturing in Springdale, MA, where he worked in sales, Pacific Mills-Lyman, and was CEO of Arkwright Mills in Spartanburg until his retirement.

He was formerly President of the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association, serving on the board for several years; President of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and was honored with their Slater Award, the highest award given by ATMI. He was on the Board of C&S Bank, Carolinas Board of NationsBank, as well as the Boards of SeaPac Corporation, Spartan Mills, and the Advisory Board of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Mr. Cates also served on the Boards of educational institutions including Chatham Hall School, Hollins College, and the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Foundation.

Unquestionably devoted to his community, Mac was Chairman of the United Way, Chairman of Spartanburg Music Foundation, served on the Spartanburg Historical Society Board, Trustee and Chair of the Spartanburg County Foundation, Chairman of the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center Foundation Board, on the Board of the Sirrine Foundation. He also served on the board for the Country Club of Spartanburg, and was a member and served as Chairman of the Board for The Piedmont Club. He was also a member of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce Board. In 2017, Mac and his wife Margi were recognized by The Kiwanis Club as the Citizens of the Year for their “multi-faceted involvement in the community.” He was Chairman of The Arkwright Foundation until 2020.

He was an avid sportsman, loving to spend time afield and in the stream. He was a founding member and served as Secretary of the Kawana Fishing Club, a member of the Anglers Club of NYC, a past member of the Brook Club NYC, the Rainbow Springs Club, and the Linville Golf Club. He was a founding member of the South Carolina Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a lifetime member of the Spartanburg Gun Club.

He was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church of the Advent.

In addition to his wife of 71 years, Marguerite McGee Cates, he is survived by daughters, Marguerite DuPré Cates Cochran of Rowayton, CT, Elisabeth Quarles Cates of Durham, NC, Kathleen MacFarlane Cates of Spartanburg, SC, and Mary Lafferty Cates of Durham, NC, and grandchildren, Elisabeth Peyton Cochran Nolan and her husband, Sean of Ridgefield, CT, and Lee Stuart Cochran of New York, NY. We know he is happy fly fishing with his late son-in-law, Moffett, in Heaven’s stream.

Graveside services will be held 11:00 AM, Friday May 7, 2021 in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, 1300 Fernwood-Glendale Road, Spartanburg, SC 29307 conducted by The Rev. J. Edward Morris, The Rev. Clay H. Turner and The Rev. Paula R. Griffin. Red bandanas optional.

Honorary escort will be Lillian Lilly, Martin Cornelson, John Chapman, Edward Armfield, Chris Stone, Will Montgomery, John Montgomery, Scott Montgomery, Dr. Glenn Scott, Chris Scott, Chris Crowley, Garrett Scott, Charlie Owen Jr., Charlie Owen III, and Hamilton James.

A reception will be held at The Piedmont Club, 361 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302, immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Episcopal Church of the Advent, 141 Advent Street, Spartanburg, SC 20302; Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg, PO Box 1441, Spartanburg, SC 29304; Hummingbird Farm, PO Box 1603, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or the charity of one’s choice.

Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel

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Funeral Service
May 7, 2021

11:00 AM
Fernwood (Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, Glendale Road, Spartanburg)

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