Historical records matching Mary Gates
About Mary Gates
Mary Maxwell Gates dies on June 10, 1994
On June 10, 1994, Mary Maxwell Gates, mother of Microsoft co-founder William H. Gates III and a woman widely admired for her civic activism, dies of breast cancer at age 64. Gates was the first female president of King County’s United Way, the first woman to chair the national United Way’s executive committee, and the first woman to be a director of First Interstate Bank of Washington. She served as a regent of the University of Washington for 18 years before her battle with cancer forced her to retire in 1993.
The daughter of Willard Maxwell, a Seattle bank executive, and Adelle Thompson of Enumclaw, she was class valedictorian and a star forward on the girls’ high school basketball team. The Maxwells became one of Seattle’s most socially prominent families. After her marriage to attorney William Gates Jr., Mary Gates taught junior high school in Bremerton. She gave up teaching when her second child, Bill Gates, was born in October 1955, but she remained interested in education, volunteering as a lecturer for Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. She often took her young son with her when she traveled to area schools to talk about the region’s culture and history.
More than 1,000 mourners attended her memorial service at the University Congregational Church on June 16, 1994. Her three children -- son Bill and daughters Kristianne Blake of Spokane and Elizabeth (Libby) Armintrout of Seattle -- told stories about her passion for education, her support of their careers and lives, and the lessons they will pass along to their own children. “Not many adult sons are as proud of their mother as I was,” Bill Gates said.
The church was packed with business and political leaders who celebrated her compassion and her leadership skills. “One of Seattle’s greatest treasures has passed from the scene,” said Mayor Norm Rice, who called her “an extraordinary civic leader and philanthropist, a champion for social justice and a remarkable human being.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 11, 1994; Ibid., June 17, 1994. By Cassandra Tate, January 01, 2000
From the Pacific Stars and Stripes, Monday, June 13, 1994:
Mary Gates, Bill's mom, dies
Reprinted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle - In more recent years, perhaps, she had become better known as the mother of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men. But Mary Maxwell Gates was every bit the high-energy trailblazer as her more famous son.
When she died Friday in her Seattle home at the age of 64 from cancer, Gates left behind a legacy of civic activism and community service in Seattle that spanned several decades and touched many lives.
"One of Seattle's greatest treasures has passed from the scene," said Mayor Norm Rice, who called her "an extraordinary civic leader and philanthropist, a champion for social justice and a remarkable human being."
She died on the day she was to receive the Municipal League of King County's Citizen of the Year award.
Gates, a board member of several companies, was the first woman president of King County's United Way. Later, she was the first woman director of First Interstate Bank of Washington. She served as a regent at the University of Washington for 18 years before her battle with cancer forced her to retire last year.
A public memorial service was scheduled at Seattle's University Congregational Church, which she and her husband, Bill, a Seattle attorney, attended for many years.
Friends feel strongly that Gates, who had distinguished herself as a community leader long before Microsoft became a household word, be remembered for farm more than being "Bill Gates' mom."
"After Bill became famous, Mary became 'Bill Gates' mom.' But she had done so much before that; it was not her identity," said Capeloto. "It is an honor to be Mary Gates' son."
Her cancer was in remission when she and her husband flew to Hawaii in late December for the wedding of their son on New Year's Day. That was one of the happiest moments of her life, friends said.