Billy Jack Gaskins entered into the arms of Jesus and into the kingdom of heaven in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April, 9, 2014, in his residence.
He was surrounded by his loving wife of 55 years, Sandra Davis Gaskins, and his bountiful family. He was blessed with eight children, 20 grandchildren, and 37- great-grandchildren. His magnetic personality and infectious smile brought joy into the lives of all that he encountered. His family will forever remember his witty personality, charm and unconditional faith in God and family. Even upon his deathbed, when asked how he was feeling, Billy Jack maintained his humor and would respond, “With my hands.” Billy Jack was of the Christian denomination and a member of Liberty Church in Ft. Lamar for 30 years.
Petty Officer First Class Billy Jack Gaskins is an exemplary man who led an extraordinary life. He served his country proudly as a retired Naval Engineer. He served honorably during World War II, Republic of South Korea, and the Republic of South Vietnam.
Billy Jack started his civilian career as a heating and air conditioning repairman. His strong work ethic resulted in several promotions that led to a position as Supervisor of Mechanical Maintenance with the Orange County School System in Orlando, Fla.
Upon retirement from the school system, he relocated to Jackson County in 1983. There he unselfishly gave of himself by providing services to the needy and senior citizens in the surrounding communities.
Billy Jack lived life to the fullest and enjoyed a variety of hobbies including fishing, bowling and traveling. His traveling adventures took him to 43 states in the United States and three provinces in Canada. Additionally, he was a licensed pilot who enjoyed frequently getting lost in his Piper Cherokee airplane.
He is leaving behind an extensive family who will cherish and remember him as a truly great man.
Billy Jack was preceded in death by two children, Eileen Maggard and Bonnie Jo Gaskins; and brothers, Leo Gaskins, Charles Gaskins, Howard Gaskins and Bobby Gaskins.
In addition to his wife Sandra, he is survived by children, Cheryl Soares (Richard), Athens, Sandra “Pinky” Holbert, Belpre, Ohio, Brenda Bonds (Danny W.), Commerce, Kim Hernandez (Brett) of Bostwick, Richard A. Gaskins, Nashville, Ga.; Billy Jack Gaskins, Jr. (Jose “Che” Juarez), Commerce and Donald Glenn, Sr. (Wendy), Seale, Ala.; sisters, Marlene Basson, Naylor, and Lynda Faye Jones, Covington; brothers, Ronald Gaskins, Tampa, Fla., Earl Gaskins, Jasper, and Jimmy Wayne Gaskins, Sacramento, Calif.; 20 grandchildren; and 37 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, April 11, at Liberty Church with Rev. Richard Davis officiating. Interment will follow in Jackson Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m.
Little-Ward Funeral Home, Commerce, is in charge of arrangements.