A "walk-thru" viewing on Monday from 5pm-7pm at Anderson-Ragsdale Mortuary for friends. The services on Tuesday at Bethel Baptist Church are by Invitation due to number of people
that are limited in the facility. Entombment at Greenwood Bible Mausoleum with Navy Honors.
TRUSTEE CHAIRMAN WILL H. GASTON was born May 23, 1926 in Slocum, Texas, twelve miles southeast of Palestine in Anderson County. He was the fourth of eleven children born to very proud parents, Algia and Eula Gaston. At the age of ten he united with the St. James Missionary Baptist Church and was baptized in a nearby creek. He received his formal education in Texas and graduated from Henry High School. In his early teens, Will temporarily lost his eyesight but fortunately, with his mother’s care it returned within a year. His mother was very protective of him. Bill, as he was called by his family, was very much a “Mama’s Boy”.
In 1944, Will enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served with honor and pride during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He received his Honorable Discharge in 1966 after twenty-two years of service.
While still in the Navy, Will met and fell in love with Robbie Cook in San Diego, California. They wed after a brief courtship. Their union was blessed with six children. After many years of marriage, Robbie was called home to glory on August 29, 2000.
After his retirement from the Navy, Will began employment with Civil Service in the Public Works Department, as well as, Del Mar Race Track. In 1978, he retired from Public Works but continued to work at Del Mar several more years.
In 1970, Will united with Bethel Baptist Church under the spiritual guidance of the late Dr. C. H. Hamilton and continued under Dr. John W. Ringgold. There, he immediately became active in various Church Ministries. Trustee Gaston served on the Senior Ushers Ministry for over 30 years; he served as Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and also as President for 8 years. He was an active member of Union Usher Board State of California Southeast District, Southwest District Association Ushers Department and past President of the Western Baptist State Convention Ushers Department.
In 1972, Chairman Gaston became the Sunday School teacher for Class #15 for over 35 years. In 1974, he was selected to serve on the Trustee Board. In 1988, he was elevated to Chairman of the Trustee Ministry; he served for over 46 years. He also served as a devoted member in several other ministries: Bethel Crusaders Laymen, 32 years; Solace Ministry, 13 years; Mission Ministry, with the Rachel and Dorcas Circles for 31 years. He was a mentor to many young adults, inspiring them with his fatherly wisdom, hospitality, generosity, and kindness. Will deeply loved his church, church family and his pastor. Bethel affectionately and lovingly addressed him either as “Chairman”, “Pops”, “Papa Gaston” “Mr. G” or simply as “Dad”. In 2003, the Center for Hundredfold Living honored Chairman Gaston for his strong and faithful support of Global missions. In 2019, he served his final chair as head of the 40th Pastoral Anniversary.
Will dearly loved his children: Lois, Betty, Billy Ray; and Fay. “Granddaddy” adored his grand, great-grand, and great-great grandchildren. He kept in close contact with his Texas family; often phoning his siblings: “Lady”, Katie, Reta and “Joe Boy”, never missing a birthday. His children will remember him beginning his day studying the Word of God and glorifying the Lord from sunrise to sunset.
He was a confidant to many, but you knew if you sought his advice, he would give you the raw truth softened by a scripture. He loved sports of all sorts, especially basketball. The Lakers were his all-time favorite team. Keeping with his Texas roots, he also loved the Dallas Cowboys. If you wanted to bond with him, just mention “Dominoes”; you were in and on his telephone list. He looked forward every year to his birthday celebration with his family and many friends.
Will celebrated his last birthday on Saturday, May 23, 2020, with what he enjoyed most; good friends, great food and surrounded with love and laughter.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Robbie; three sons: Larry Gaston who died shortly after birth, Will H. Gaston Jr. and Billy Ray Gaston; both of his parents; his brothers: Leo Gaston, Arthur Gaston, A.G. Gaston and Lindsey Lee Gaston; one sister Reta Faye Gaston; twin granddaughters, Whitney and Brittney Erby shortly after birth; his niece, Renee Michelle Rogers and nephew, Andre Gardner.
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the Lord whispered “Well Done Will” and dispatched an angel to take the chairman’s hand as he slipped away peacefully. He leaves to cherish his memory: three daughters, Lois Whitley, Betty Lee and Eula Faye Coley; granddaughter whom was raised most of her life in the Gaston home, Felicia Parker Gaston; one brother, Lon L. “Joe Boy” Gaston (Liz); two sisters, Algia Mae “Lady” Rogers and Katie Marie Gaston; three sisters-in-law: Catherine Gaston, Corine Gaston and Thelma Gaston; grandsons, Marcus H. Lee (Julanna) and Clarence Cornelius Jr. (Selena) and Brian Gaston; three granddaughters: Wendy Erby (Joseph), Marcia Sullivan (Jermaine), Robbie Chapman (David), Deena Miller, Lois King, Tymyra Savage (Virgil) and Dwana Gaston and a host of great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins and other relatives throughout Texas, Virginia, California and elsewhere; the Bethel Baptist Church Family, the ”44th Street Neighbors and many, many friends.
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