Arlington Red Hat lady known for her love of art

SMOKEY POINT — Dalyn Gates lived for beauty and art, and for her friends.

Gates, a member of the Red Hat Play Girls in Arlington, was known for her vitality and the enthusiasm she brought to the parties and social gatherings that are a mainstay of the women’s club.

According to Candy Thoreson, Gates was much more than that: She was the living, breathing representation of what being a Red Hat lady is all about.

“She was an adventurous spirit,” Thoreson said. “She was known as the ‘Duchess of Decoration’ and hand-painted signs, decorated tables for our events and scrapbooked. She was an artist who constantly created beauty.”

Thoreson met Gates while applying for a job at Lowe’s in Smokey Point in 2002. The chance encounter resulted in a deep friendship.

“I was brand new from Texas and didn’t know anyone, and on a recommendation I went to Lowe’s looking for a job,” Thoreson said. “Dalyn was working the customer service counter. She helped me with my application and then took me by the hand an introduced me to every manager and supervisor in the store. That’s just how she was.”

Gates was also responsible for Hero Park, located outside the Lowe’s in Smokey Point.

“The company owned a strip of land that was overgrown and not in use. So Dalyn asked the manager if she could convert it into a park,” Thoreson said.

The land was choked with weeds and overgrown vegetation. Yet Gates persisted, and after 500 volunteer hours turned the eyesore into Hero Park.

“The day of the park dedication was a particularly dreary day,” Thoreson said. “But 50 people still showed up, along with Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson.”

All the sod, trees, bushes, and benches were donated by Lowe’s at Gates’ request.

“She did it to pay back the community for using Lowe’s and to honor everyone who volunteers in our community, to make it better and prettier,” Thoreson said. “To take away some of the unsightliness that’s in the community and make it beautiful and useful.”

Jamie King, Gates’ daughter, said that was her mother’s gift. Gates had a bachelor of arts degree in art history and owned an art gallery while living in Alaska.

“That was my mom: She loved to paint,” King said. “At Lowe’s she painted two huge murals, one with a desert theme and another with an Asian theme that’s located in the gardening section.”

Over the Christmas holidays, Gates flew to Atlanta to spend time with King and her family. During that time Gates spent the majority of it remodeling her granddaughter’s room.

“She really wanted to surprise my daughter with an extreme room makeover,” King said.

Gates died in her home Feb. 8. She was 57.

Gates is survived by daughter Jaime King, son Bryan Gates and grandchildren Lynsie and Jed.

Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or

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