William Lee Gaskell

William Gaskell

One of the strongest men I know, and the most determined, was the sentiment of one who was familiar with Will’s daily struggle with COPD. That struggle came to an end at 9:06 P.M. on April 3, 2017, surrounded by family, at Cottage in the Meadow, Yakima, Washington.

William Lee Gaskell was the first of ten children born to Homer B. and Helen Porter Gaskell in Ashtabula, Ohio, on May 11, 1941. He attended school in the Ashtabula Harbor District, graduating from Harbor High School in 1959.

Will’s first job was for his grandfather in the Gaskell family painting and wallpapering business, a job that lasted through high school and college. He attended Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where he earned bachelor and master degrees while participating in Air Force ROTC.

After graduation he taught in the Ashtabula City Schools until he was commissioned in the United States Air Force. His first assignment was Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts, where he met his future wife, Patricia Babcock, from Grove City, Pennsylvania, also serving in the USAF. Pat and Will were married at Hanscom on June 10, 1967, and later sent to the Philippines where their first two children, Allen Patrick and Heather Louise, were born. They returned to the States and soon welcomed their third child, April Marie.

Will’s Air Force career spanned 22 years, including a tour in Viet Nam, and culminated in retirement as a Major, in 1987 in Great Falls, Montana. He returned to teaching while he and Pat worked on their retirement home and ranch until cancer claimed his lovely bride in 1999. He retired once again in 2001.

Will was then reunited with a college friend, Jethred Stephenson McMorrine, also from Ashtabula, Ohio. Being the gentleman we all knew him to be, he called Jethred’s dad, a retired Army Major he had admired for many years, to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Permission was granted and the wedding took place in Ashtabula in October 2001. Will’s wedding ring was a Christmas present from Jethred some 40 years previous to this event, and he had miraculously saved it all those years.

William L. Gaskell is survived by wife, Jethred; son, Allen P. (Wendy) Gaskell and their family, Lanie and Kelsey Jo Gaskell, Kelci Collins, and Kayla Wright; daughter Heather L. Dacyk, grandson Nick Dacyk, granddaughter Josephine Mehmke; daughter April M. (Robbie) Parke, grandsons Trevor and Ryan Parke; stepdaughter Heather M. McMorrine, granddaughter Sadie Collis; Polly A. (Tim) Herron, granddaughter Amy Turner, great grandsons Kayden, Korbin, and Donovan; granddaughter Christine Herron, and great grandchildren Scott, and Callie.

Other survivors include brothers Ronald, Robert, H. Roger, Douglas, and Rolland Gaskell; sisters Suzanne DeGeorge and Diana Carter; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding Will in death were his parents; sisters Carole Long, and Linda Sousa; first wife Patricia; and his beloved rescue cat Spooky.

A memorial service with military honors will be observed in Great Falls, Montana, at a date as yet to be determined.