Ms. Cates worked at Westinghouse, later Northrop Grumman, as a quality-control inspector. She retired in 2002.
She was also an artist and worked in a contemporary style in mixed media. She painted, made jewelry and refurbished furniture that she then painted. She had a studio at the Howard County Center for the Arts and had earlier worked in the old Oella Mill. In 2001, she was interviewed by The Baltimore Sun when her old studio was sold and made into apartments.
"There are not many places for artists to go," she said. "I can understand them wanting to sell, but I want to stay."
Ms. Cates exhibited her work at the Howard County center, other galleries and at the Columbia Arts Festival and the Howard County Woodworkers Guild.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Wylie Funeral Home, 9200 Liberty Road.
Survivors include a son, Sean Cates of Columbia; a daughter, Yolanda Cates of Baltimore; a sister, Dolores L. Winston of Pikesville; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce.