Clifton W. Gates, a St. Louisan who passed away earlier this week, may have been most honored during his lifetime for a series of important “firsts” — the first African American to be appointed to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners; the co-founder of the first full-service St. Louis bank owned by African Americans; among the first African American real estate executives in St. Louis — but it is for his generous determination to share his wisdom, energy, and experience with others that he will be most remembered.
He left a mark.
For more than forty years, Col. Gates served tirelessly to advance the civic agendas of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, the MUNY, the St. Louis Branch of the NAACP, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Housing Authority, the St. Louis Public Library Foundation, the St. Louis Airport Authority, the Boy Scouts of Greater St. Louis, and many others. He will be remembered by those who worked with him as a hard worker, a gentle soul, and a passionate believer in his City.
“C.W. Gates was not only a great businessman, but he was an exceptional role model and inspiration to young minorities and people of all ethnic backgrounds, especially on what can be achieved through hard work and determination,” his greatnephew, License Collector Mike McMillan, told Gentry Trotter.
I would like to extend the City’s gratitude and my personal condolences to Mike, to Harriet Gates, and to other members of Col. Gates’ family.