Gates Willard was a friend and correspondent of Clint Seeley, and his Tootsietoy collection was the result of forty years avid collecting. It was legendary for its quality and depth, including for example an almost complete set of store Federal vans, and many pristine boxed sets.
Gates Willard trained as a geologist, and in later life was principal of an elementary school. He lived at Manhasset, NY. Following a long battle against illness, he died on 5 April 2006, and his Tootsietoys were sold in two auctions by Lloyd Ralston Gallery Auctions. With their permission I have used many of the auction catalogue photos on this website.
Gates Willard (from an article in Collecting Toys magazine, April 1998).