What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ Star Darlene Cates Dies at 69

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Iannathedriveress

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Darlene Cates, known for playing the mother in “What's Eating Gilbert Grape,” has died. She was 69.
Cates’ daughter, Sheri Cates Morgan, announced in a Facebook post that her mother died “peacefully in her sleep” on Sunday morning.
“We take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father, breaking away only to dance with our Savior, Jesus,” the daughter wrote. “(Dancing was something she talked about loving to do ‘back in the day’!)”
 

Tracyarts

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That makes me sad. I got to meet her a couple of times and talked on the phone with her a few times. She was one of that special and rare breed of people who just exude an aura of positive and loving energy.
 

Shosh

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Darlene was a sweet loving woman.
I will miss her.
She would send me lovely pics and messages to my inbox at FB.
Rest in peace good and faithful servant, your work here on earth is done.
xo
 

Marlayna

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So sad to hear this. RIP dear lady, you will be greatly missed by many
 

Tracyarts

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Did a lot of you all know her IRL?
I met her a couple of times, and talked to her on the phone a few times through my job.

Back in the '90s and '00s there was a yearly weekend long fat acceptance event called "Big as Texas" that usually alternated between Dallas and Houston. I was able to attend several times during those years. Darlene Cates lived in the Dallas area and was the special guest speaker one year. I initially met her there.

There was also a woman who was very much involved in the fat acceptance community named Cathy (XXXLGBBW here on Dimensions) whose family owned a plus and superplus size clothing boutique in Houston for a few years during that time, and Cathy ran the shop. She was a friend of mine when she lived here in Houston, and I worked in the shop the entire time it was open. Darlene Cates came to shop in person at least once (maybe more but I only remember the one time for sure) and we would do special orders for her over the phone and through the mail. If Cathy wasn't available to handle calls about her orders over the phone, I took care of it.

So I only knew her on a small-talk kind of level. But was struck at how she exuded a strong aura of positive and loving energy. I remember she was a woman of deep faith as well. A very beautiful soul.
 
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