The Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, is bereaved of his 94-year-old father.
William H. Gates II, a lawyer and philanthropist, died peacefully Monday at his beach home in Washington state from Alzheimer’s disease, the family announced Tuesday.
The Microsoft billionaire, 64, announced the death in a post published on his Facebook page on Tuesday wrote “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,” he continued.
“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.”
In the tribute, Gates reflected on his father’s influence on his life, sharing that he and his sisters were “very lucky” to have parents who “gave us constant encouragement and were always patient with us.”
“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,” he wrote. “I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed.”
“As I got older, I came to appreciate my dad’s quiet influence on almost everything I have done in life. In Microsoft’s early years, I turned to him at key moments to seek his legal counsel,” Gates said.
“My dad also had a profound influence on way drive. When I was a kid, he wasn’t prescriptive or domineering, and yet he never let me coast along at things I was good at, and he always pushed me to try things I hated or didn’t think I could do (swimming and soccer, for example). And he modeled an amazing work ethic. He was one of the hardest-working and most respected lawyers in Seattle, as well as a major civic leader in our region.”
Born in 1925, Gates Sr. grew up in Bremerton, Washington, where his parents owned a furniture store. He joined the Army following his freshman year at the University of Washington and was en-route to Japan when it surrendered in 1945.
He served a year in war-torn Tokyo before returning to the United States and resuming his education, his family said. After earning his law degree in 1950, he began working in private practice and as a part-time Bremerton city attorney.
He formed a Seattle law firm with two other partners that eventually became Preston Gates and Ellis — now known as K & L Gates, one of the world’s largest law firms. The firm was one of the first to work with the region’s technology industry.
The family said that due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service would be held later.