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Bill Gates Sr., Father Of Microsoft Co-Founder, Dies At 94

Bill Gates Sr. attends "Bill Gates: A Conversation with My Father" in New York City in June 2010.
Bobby Bank
WireImage/Getty Images
Bill Gates Sr. attends "Bill Gates: A Conversation with My Father" in New York City in June 2010.

Bill Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has died. He was 94.

"We will miss him more than we can express right now," Gates wrote in a tribute to his father on his website. "My dad's wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world."

Gates Sr. was born on Nov. 30, 1925, in Bremerton, Wash., and attended the University of Washington. After serving in World War II, he returned home and became a lawyer. He would later help his son develop the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he served as co-chair.

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad," Gates wrote. "More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation."

In his tribute, Gates remembered his father's "quiet influence" on every aspect of his life, saying that his father's "unconditional" support was one of the reasons he felt comfortable leaving college to develop Microsoft with his business partner, Paul Allen. In Microsoft's early days, Gates wrote he would often seek his father's help with legal matters.

Gates also credited his father with influencing him in what he called his "most important roles — that of father and husband.

"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," he wrote.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft's current CEO, called Gates Sr. "an important part of the Microsoft story" who "played a vital role in our community, and influenced our philanthropic programs."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, sent their condolences to the Gates family. "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," the governor said in a statement. "He made the choice to use his wealth and influence to advocate for and improve equity in our communities."

In addition to his son, Gates Sr. is survived by his children Kristianne and Elizabeth, as well as his second wife, Mimi Gardner Gates.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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