Mildred Pfarr Gates, founder of Small World Bookstore in Venice, passed away Monday, April 9th, in Santa Monica. She was 99.

Born the youngest of five sisters on December 14th, 1907 in Tipton, Iowa, Gates graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa in 1928.

She married Robert Gates, executive vice president of Collins Radio and head of development for Coe College, in 1940.

They lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa until his death in 1968.

Mildred Gates founded Small World Bookstore in Marina del Rey in 1969 and moved the store next to the Sidewalk Cafe on Venice Beach in 1976.

She retired to Laguna Hills in 1978 and left the store to her daughter, Mary Gates Goodfader, who runs the store to this day.

An extraordinary reader her whole life, Mildred Gates was still recommending books for longtime bookstore customers, her family said. She was a lifelong optimist who always believed in ìeating dessert first because it was the best part of the meal,î her family said.

Gates supported the Plan International for 30 years and sponsored six children in Central America.

She is survived by her daughter, Mary; son, Robert Gates of San Francisco; four grandchildren, Jay Goodfader, Debra Goodfader, Jonathan Gates and Tami Schneider; and one great-grandchild, Dani Schneider.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.