William H. Gates II, Father Of Microsoft Co-Founder, Bill Gates, Dies At 94

William H. Gates II, Father Of Microsoft Co-Founder, Bill Gates, Dies At 94

"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," shares son Bill Gates.

Image Source: Getty Images/Bill Gates of The Gates Foundation, and Bill Gates, Sr. are seen during the The Lasker Awards 2013 on September 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for The Lasker Foundation)

William H. Gates II, a lawyer and philanthropist, also known as the father of Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates, has died. He was 94 when he died peacefully Monday at his beach home in Washington state from Alzheimer’s disease, the family announced Tuesday, as per Seattle Times. Gates was a founding partner of one of Seattle's reputed law firms, as well as a  leading figure in civic and social causes. His son Bill Gates' success in the tech field gave him an entirely different path in his 70s. It was during this time that he became one of the guiding forces behind the William H. Gates Foundation, which is now what we know as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


As one of the largest private foundations, the organization has helped combat several social issues, like educing infant mortality, stamping out polio, and finding an AIDS vaccine. In a statement, Bill Gates shared: 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.


Bill Gates then went on to thank his mom and dad for supporting him every step of the way, even when he dropped out of college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed, he shared. My dad’s influence on our philanthropy was just as big. Throughout my childhood, he and my mom taught me by example what generosity looked like in how they used their time and resources. One night in the 1990s, before we started our foundation, Melinda, Dad, and I were standing in line at the movies. Melinda and I were talking about how we had been getting more requests for donations in the mail. Dad simply said, “Maybe I can help.”


Bill Gates then acknowledged that the foundation wouldn't be what it is today without his father's help and support. 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.


While working at the foundation together, the bond they shared wasn't of a father and son revealed Gates. He and I had always wanted to do something concrete together. When we started doing so in a big way at the foundation, we had no idea how much fun we would have. We only grew closer during more than two decades of working together. 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


One of Bill Gates' most prized possession is a letter his father wrote to him when he turned 50, encouraging Bill Gates to always remain 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.” He concluded by saying that being William H. Gates' son 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.


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