William Henry Gates, better known as Bill Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, passed away on Monday at his beach home, in Hood Canal, at the age of 94, according to his son.
Gates wrote on his official blog, “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.”
Gates Sr. was an Army veteran, attorney, and philanthropist. He was a founding partner in a Seattle law firm, according to his official biography. He was an author of the book Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime.
Bill Gates said his father was critical in starting their charitable organization, which has been his central focus after stepping away from running Microsoft.
He said, “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad. 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.”
Gates Sr. served as co-chair of the foundation that was established in 2000.
The family statement did not give a cause of his death but said William Gates II had been in deteriorating health.
Bill Gates wrote, “People used to ask my dad if he was the real Bill Gates. The truth is, he was everything I try to be.”
In 1951, Gates Sr. married Mary Maxwell Gates, whom he met at the University of Washington. They remained married until her death in 1994. They had three children – Kristianne, Bill, and Libby.
In 1996, Gates Sr. married his second wife Mimi Gardner Gates who was the director of the Seattle Art Museum. In 2018, it was revealed that William Henry Gates suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.