Bill Gates Loses Father, Aged 94; Microsoft Tycoon Says ‘The experience of being the son of Bill Gates Snr was incredible’
Father of Microsoft co-founder and Billionaire, Bill Gates has died aged 94, at his beach home on Hood Canal in Washington state, the family said.
Mr. Gates Sr. helped found what became K&L Gates, an international law firm, but was far better known as the father of a billionaire software pioneer. He was often asked whether he was “the real Bill Gates.”
He later became co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent $53.8 billion over the past 20 years on its humanitarian missions, including the eradication of malaria and the provision of vaccines to children in poor countries.
A reputed Philanthropist, the younger Bill Gates said his father was dignified without being domineering, and played a key role in his success.
Gates Jnr dedicated an article to his father on Tuesday, saying:
“My dad passed away peacefully at home yesterday, surrounded by his family.
“We will miss him more than we can express right now. We are 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”.
Gates said himself and sisters Kristi and Libby, were fortunate to have been raised by their parents, as they gave constant encouragement and patience.
” I knew their love and support were unconditional, even when we clashed in my teenage years. I am sure that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable taking some big risks when I was young, like leaving college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed”, he wrote.
“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. (Dad’s given name was William H. Gates II, but he never used the “II”—he thought it sounded stuffy.) 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.
“People who came through the doors of the Gates Foundation felt honored to work with my dad. He saw the best in everyone and made everyone feel special.
“Finally, my dad had a profoundly positive influence on my most important roles—husband and father. When I am at my best, I know it is because of what I learned from my dad about respecting women, honoring individuality, and guiding children’s choices with love and respect.
“Dad wrote me a letter on my 50th birthday. It is one of my most prized possessions. In it, he encouraged me to stay curious. He said some very touching things about how much he loved being a father to my sisters and me. “Over time,” he wrote, “I have cautioned you and others about the overuse of the adjective ‘incredible’ to apply to facts that were short of meeting its high standard. This is a word with huge meaning to be used only in extraordinary settings. What I want to say, here, is simply that the experience of being your father has been… incredible.”
“I know he would not want me to overuse the word, but there is no danger of doing that now. The experience of being the son of Bill Gates was incredible. People used to ask my dad if he was the real Bill Gates. The truth is, he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day.”
The elder Gates was an Army veteran and a founding partner in a Seattle law firm, according his official biography.