Dr. William “Bill” C. Gates, Jr., born in 1937, passed away on April 15, 2020, after an extended illness. He was able to remain with the comforts of his home for the majority of his illness, but he spent the last month and a half of his life in the good care of Dugan Memorial Home in West Point, MS. The family is eternally grateful to the extended family, friends, and healthcare providers that have provided much love and support. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Memorial Gunter Peel Funeral Home. A graveside service for immediate family was held at Friendship Cemetery on April 18, 2020.
Dr. Gates, son of W.C. and Mary Vickery Gates, was born and raised in Greenville, AL. Dr. Gates is survived by Linda Simmons Gates, his loving wife of 33 years; children Jennie Paulding (Ben), Bill Gates III (Kim), Currie Webster (Mark); sisters Anne Rainer (Jamie) and Kathryn Gates, grandchildren Heather, Austin, Davis, Faith, Jenna, great-grandchild Emma, nieces Gates, Mary, Becky, Amy, nephews Jay, Jimmy, Martin, Chris, great nieces Emilie, Mary Kate, Maggie, Elizabeth, Molly, great nephews Jamie, Matt, Trip, Charlie, and James William, and god children Rex, Grant, and Gracie.
Dr Gates was an honor student, artist, and athlete. He played the piano, guitar, and alto saxophone. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and archery. He took great pride in attaining the rank of Eagle Scout and the God and Country Award, as well as being a scout master and mentoring scouts. He served as president and in other capacities of the Pushmataha Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Gates was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award presented to a civilian.
Since his youth he wanted to become a doctor, and in high school he was mentored by a local urologist. After graduation, he was awarded a Walter O. Parmer Scholarship and attended Vanderbilt University where he earned a B.A. degree and was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. As Dr. Gates would say, “I went off to make a doctor.”
Throughout Dr. Gates’ busy professional life, he was known for his patient and family care, medical skills, bedside manner, political advocacy for patients, leadership, wit, creativity, athleticism, culinary arts skills, and love of outdoors. He was a friend, mentor and teacher to many. He was referred to by some who knew him well as a humble “Renaissance man.”
Dr. Gates attended the Medical College of AL, where he served as editor of the class annual and graduated with the first class required to pass national certification. After interning at Carraway Methodist Hospital, Birmingham, he completed his residencies in surgery and urology there and at Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX. Dr. Gates served as a flight surgeon in the Alabama National Guard, earned the rank of major, and was a member of the Aerospace Medical Association.
Dr. Gates founded Columbus Urology Group in 1968 and cofounded Starkville Urology Group in 1993. He served on the medical staff at hospitals in Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay Counties. Due to health issues, he retired in 2005 after 36 years in private practice.
Dr. Gates served in numerous leadership roles of national, state, and regional professional organizations. He was president of American Association of Clinical Urologists, MS State Medical Association, MS Urology Society, Lowndes County Medical Society, and Prairie Medical Society. He was elected as a delegate to the American Medical Association, ending his tenure as vice chairman of the MS delegation. He was also a member of the Urological, Southeastern Urological, Southern and American Physician Art Medical Associations. As an artist, he donated paintings for auction for medical student scholarships. He served in numerous other elected and volunteer positions in the medical community, including hospital chief of staff and the physician representative to the Golden Triangle Foundation which funded indigent care.
Dr. Gates was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the College of Emergency Physicians, and a diplomat of the American Board of Urology. He published medical articles in the Mississippi, Alabama and Urology journals of medicine, and his practice was selected to participate in several clinical research studies.
Dr. Gates was a committed civic leader. He was selected for the prestigious MS State Medical Association Community Service Award, which recognizes an individual physician for outstanding contributions to the betterment of life in their community. He was elected President of Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and served on the Columbus Lowndes Economic Development Authority and Columbus Tourism boards. Dr. Gates supported Columbus Air Force Base, Lowndes County United Way, Mississippi University for Women, East Mississippi Community College, the Leukemia Society, and numerous other organizations and causes
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Pushmataha Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, PO Box 9570, Columbus, MS 39705, Walter O. Parmer Scholarship Foundation, Inc., PO Box 832, Greenville, AL 36037, or charity of choice.