William Henry Gates

William H. Gates, Sr.

William Henry Gates, Sr. (born William Henry Gates III on November 30, 1925) is a retired American attorney and philanthropist. He is the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.


Gates was born in Atlanta, Georgia to William Henry Gates II or Jr., later Sr. (Bremerton, Washington, March 14, 1891Bremerton, Washington, August 17, 1969), and wife (married c. 1913) Lillian Elizabeth Rice (Bremerton, Washington, 1891 – Bremerton, Washington, November 27, 1966). He was the third in his family to have the same name, his grandfather being the first William Henry Gates. After high school he enlisted in the United States Army, changing his name to William Gates, Jr. to avoid the appearance of elitism. He fought in World War II and was honorably discharged in November 1946. He attended the University of Washington (UW) under the G.I. Bill, where he earned a B.A. in 1949 and a law degree in 1950. He practiced law until 1998, primarily with the law firm which he co-founded as Shidler & King in 1964, later known as Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, today known as K&L Gates. Gates also served on the board of Planned Parenthood.

In 1998, Gates retired from PGE. He currently serves on the Board of Regents for the University of Washington, and is a co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which his son Bill and his son's wife Melinda founded. He has adopted the suffix "Sr." to distinguish himself from his more famous son.

Gates is co-author, with Chuck Collins, of the book Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, a defense of the policies promoted by the estate tax.

He married Mary Maxwell Gates, whom he met at UW, and who died in 1994. They had three children: Kristi (Kristianne), Bill, and Libby. In 1996 Gates married Mimi Gardner Gates, who is director of the Seattle Art Museum.

Awards and recognition

See also


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