William H Gates Sr, a lawyer and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' father, has died at the age of 94. Gates Sr, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, died on Monday at his home in Washington's Hood Canal. As Bill Gates moved from business to social work, Gates Sr advised him in his philanthropy works. In early 90s, Gates Sr worked from basement office at his home and helped share Bill Gates' vision for helping others.
"I never imagined that the frequently argumentative little boy I faced each night at dinner, the one eating my food and using my name, was to be my future employer," Gates Sr said in a 2003 speech at a Rotary International event. In his blogpost on Tuesday, Bill Gates remembered his father saying: "I will miss my dad every day."
"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 wrote.
Recognising his father's "quiet influence" on almost everything Bill Gates did in life, he said in Microsoft's early years, he turned to his father at key moments to seek his legal counsel. "Incidentally, my dad played a similar role for Howard Schultz of Starbucks, helping him out at a key juncture in his business life. I suspect there are many others who have similar stories," he wrote.
"My dad also had a profound influence on my drive...and he modelled 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. My dad's influence on our philanthropy was just as big," Gates wrote.
He said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without his 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.)," said Gates.
Bill Gates said his dad had a profoundly positive influence on his 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, honouring individuality, and guiding children's choices with love and respect," he wrote about his father. Gates said 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," he wrote.