In one context, the family credited Patidar with “a deep commitment to social and economic equity”, noting that he was responsible for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s first efforts to improve global health. The family also touched on his advocacy for progressive taxation, particularly his unsuccessful attempt to pass a state income tax on the rich in Washington.
“Bill Gates wrote in tribute,” My father’s intelligence, generosity, sympathy and humility had great influence on people around the world.
Born in 1925, Gates Sr. grew up in Bremerton, Washington, where his parents owned a furniture store. During World War II, he enlisted after his freshman year at the University of Washington and surrendered in 1945, en route to Japan.
He said that before returning to the United States, he served one year in war-torn Tokyo and resumed 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 the Seattle law firm with two other associates that eventually became Preston Gates and Ellis – now known as K&L Gates, one of the largest law firms in the world. The firm was one of the first people to work with the technology industry in the region.
Gates Sr. met his first wife, Mary Maxwell, at the University of Washington. They have two daughters and a son – Gates Jr. – and were married until his death in 1994. Two years later she married Mimi Gardner, then director of the Seattle Art Museum, with whom she spent the last quarter-century of her life.
“When I was a kid, he wasn’t prescriptive or overbearing, and yet he never coasted me with things I was good at, and he always pushed me to try things that I could. I hated or did not think I could go swimming (swimming) and football, for example), ”Gates Jr. wrote in tribute. “And he created an amazing work ethic. He was one of Seattle’s most hardworking and most respected lawyers, as well as a prominent civic leader in our region.”
That civic work included serving as a representative of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Planned Parenthood and United Way, and the University of Washington, where he led the fundraising drive. He served as president of state and local bar associations and led the American Bar Association, creating diversity scholarships and promoting legal services for the poor.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement, “Bill Sr. was a man who cared about the plight of many, and had the resources and the never-ending civil commitment to do something.” “They made a choice to use their funds and advocate for improving equity in our communities.”
Gates Sr. was a great man by virtue and in person – he was 6-foot-7 tall – and his lawyers were often demanding. Former Starbucks president Howard Shultes has said that as he struggled to raise money to buy a six-store coffee chain in 1987, Gates Sr. stepped in to protect him from a rival buyer – not just by investing, Rather than taking Shultes personally to visit the opponent, when he loses on the opponent’s table, he demands: “You are going to stand down and this child is going to realize his dream. Do you understand me? ”
Gates retired from law in 1998 and played a leading role with the Gates Foundation, helping to start his work in global health.
The family said that due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 epidemic, a memorial service will be held later.