In Memory of




Obituary for Zelda Oates (Gambrell)

Zelda Gambrell Oates, 91, of Due West, wife of the late Henry C. ‘Dusty’ Oates, Sr., died Saturday, August 28, 2021, at the Carlisle Nursing Center in Due West. Born May 19, 1930 in Owings, SC, she was the daughter of the late Samuel Chester Gambrell, Sr. and Mary Belle Hood Gambrell.

A graduate at Gray Court Owings High School, Mrs. Oates received her BA from Erskine College in 1951 and MA from Furman University in 1962. After teaching in elementary schools in Laurens and Due West, she retired from Erskine College with 31 years of devoted service. While at Erskine, Mrs. Oates was twice awarded the Excellence in Teaching award in the Education Department. She also received a Golden Apple in Teaching award.

Mrs. Oates was a member of the Due West ARP Church and active in the Women of the Church. She enjoyed being involved and held many offices in the Women’s Work, one year as president. Her activities with the children, young people and singing in the choir kept her busy. Mrs. Oates was a member of Delta Kappa Gama Sorority and served one year as president. She also enjoyed her involvement in the Book Club, Magnolia Garden Club, Bridge Club, high school, and college sports; however, spending time with her family always came first.

In addition to her parents and husband of 64 years, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Hood Gambrell, Hugh M. Gambrell and Sam Gambrell; and daughter-in-law, Nancy Padgett Oates.

Mrs. Oates is survived by her three sons, Henry Campbell ‘Dusty’ Oates, Jr. and wife, Nancy Scales Oates, of Clemson, Dr. Richard Hunter Oates and wife, Katharine Kirkpatrick Oates, of Gainesville, GA and Samuel Thomas Oates of Greenville; grandchildren, Caroline Oates, Amanda Oates Harper (Ryan), Campbell Oates (Christine), Hunter Oates (Sharon), Jamie Oates and John Oates; great-grandchildren, Henry and Charlie Oates and Enoch, Quentin and Fred Harper.

A celebration of Mrs. Oates’ life will be 3:00PM, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in Due West ARP Church with Rev. Calvin Draffin and Rev. Scott Moore officiating. The family will greet friends following the service in the church sanctuary.
The services for Mrs. Zelda Oates will be live-streamed and may be viewed at A private burial will be held in the Due West ARP church cemetery prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorials be made to the Due West ARP Church, PO Box 397, Due West, SC 29639 or Bonclarken Conference Center, 305 Pine Drive, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

A message of condolence may be sent to the family by visiting

Harris Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Abbeville is assisting the Oates family.