William H. Gates II, the father of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, died aged 94, the family announced on Tuesday.
Gates Sr., a lawyer and also a philanthropist, died peacefully on Monday at his home in Washington state where he was surrounded by his family, Bill said on his official blog.
Gates Sr. was born in 1925 an raised in Bremerton, Washington. He served in the Army and went on to earn his law degree in 1950, and subsequently began working in private practice.
He went on to form a law firm in Seattle, what is now K & L Gates, one of the world’s largest law firms.
He was married to his first wife, Mary Maxwell, until her death in 1994, and two years later he married Mimi Gardner whom he lived with until his death.
Bill shared a tribute on his blog to his late father saying the family was “feeling grief but also gratitude.”
“My dad’s passing was not unexpected—he was 94 years old and his health had been declining—so we have all had a long time to reflect on just how lucky we are to have had this amazing man in our lives for so many years. And we are not alone in these feelings. My dad’s wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world,” Bill wrote.
He said his father had a “profoundly positive influence” on what he considered his most important roles: a husband and father.
Bill said he appreciated the “quiet influence” his father had on “almost everything I have done in life” noting that he sought his legal advice at key moments during Microsoft’s early years.
He also said that his father was a great influence on his philanthropy adding that The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without him.
“Throughout my childhood, he and my mom taught me by example what generosity looked like in how they used their time and resources.”
“More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation. He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning. He was dignified but hated anything that seemed pretentious. He was great at stepping back and seeing the big picture. He was quick to tear up when he saw people suffering in the world. And he would not let any of us forget the people behind the strategies we were discussing.”