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The World Mourns As Bill Gates Snr. Dies At 94

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By Ella Makondo

William H. Gates II, father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has died at 94 , CBS News announced on Tuesday.

Gates who was a lawyer and philanthropist was reported to have died on  Monday at his beach home in Washington state from Alzheimer’s disease, his family members disclosed to CBS News.

In an obituary, the family credited him with a  “deep commitment to social and economic equity”.

According to them, Gates  was responsible for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s first efforts to improve global health  and were touched by  his advocacy for progressive taxation, especially his unsuccessful efforts to pass a state income tax on the wealthy in Washington.

He was born in 1925.

 The philanthropist grew up in Bremerton, Washington, where his parents owned a furniture store and he joined the World War II Army following his freshman year at the University of Washington.

According to his family, he  served a year in war-torn Tokyo before returning to the United States and resuming his education, 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.

In a tribute to his father, Bill Gates said:”My dad’s wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world.

“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).

He met  his first wife, Mary Maxwell, at the University of Washington. They had two daughters and a son — Gates Jr. — and remained married until her death in 1994. Two years later he married Mimi Gardner, then the director of the Seattle Art Museum, with whom he spent the last quarter-century of his life.

“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.”

Washington Governor, Jay Inslee in a statement said” Bill Sr. was a person who cared about the plight of many, and he had the resources and never-ending civic commitment to do something about it.

“He made the choice to use his wealth and influence to advocate for and improve equity in our communities”.

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