Mary Maxwell Gates

Mary Maxwell Gates

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Mary Maxwell Gates

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Mary Maxwell Gates (born Mary Maxwell on July 5, 1929 — June 10, 1994) was an American businessperson. Gates served 18 years (1975–1993) on the University of Washington board of regents. She was the first female president of King County’s United Way, the first woman to chair the national United Way’s executive committee where she served most notably with IBM's CEO, John Opel, and the first woman on the First Interstate Bank of Washington's board of directors. Mary's son Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft.

Life and career

Gates was born in Seattle, Washington as Mary Maxwell to James Willard Maxwell (Nebraska, 1901 - 1960), a banker, and wife (married c. 1927) Adele Thompson ((probably Enumclaw, King County), Washington, c. 1903 –). She received a degree in education from the University of Washington in 1950. She met and married law student William H. Gates, Sr. at that time. During the early 1950s she taught school. After her husband co-founded the law practice that became Preston Gates & Ellis in Seattle, Gates turned to a variety of civic activities. Gates' volunteer roles in Seattle and King County included serving on the boards of the Children's Hospital Foundation, Seattle Symphony, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, United Way of King County, and many other nonprofit organizations. She also served as President of the Junior League of Seattle from 1966-1967.

In 1975, Governor Daniel J. Evans appointed Gates to the...
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