December 26, 2017
Service Date: January 5, 2018
. Visitation will be at CrippIn Funeral Home Chapel in Montrose, on Friday Jan 5, 2018 from 6-7PM. In lieu of flowers, please make any Memorial donations to any “Veterans” associated organization.
Harold Roy Gaskill, FTC USN (RET), formerly of Va. Beach, VA passed away peacefully DEC 26, 2017 with his wife and daughter at his side. He was 95 and a resident of Montrose CO. CHIEF Gaskill was born in Portsmouth VA, but spent his early years exploring the beaches and waters of Hatteras NC. It was there under the tutelage of his father and uncles that he learned the importance of being a skilled waterman. It was in Hatteras that he developed his love for anything having to do with the ocean. He and his family survived the 1933 hurricane that covered the island with 6 feet of ocean water. The family climbed on to the roof of his Grandmother’s house in Hatteras Village, and waited for the waters to subside. The Coast Guard was doing the best they could…but the equipment available was taxed to its limits. The water went down, they made it. The family relocated to Portsmouth VA in 1941. Harold got a job at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, as a ship fitter. He learned the welding trade and the science of metallurgy. In 1943 he enlisted in the US NAVY, changing his specialty to FIRE CONTROL early in his career. His specialty meant he would spend most of his career on ships. Deployments in those days were 9 months long. His cruises included the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean, eventually visiting all ports of call where the United States had an interest. Some of the high points of his career included:1958, serving as personal escort for Medal of Honor recipient William Charette while on board USS CANBERRA (CG-2). Charette was on board to select the UNKNOWN SOLDIER of WWII, to be interned at Arlington National Cemetery. 1962-63; Instructor of Naval Science at Princeton University. 1964; relieved a Line Officer, becoming the Gunnery Officer on USS ALSTEDE (AF-48).
Retiring from the Navy in 1965, he was soon employed by Stanwick Corp. as a Technical Writer…writing technical manuals, developing maintenance procedures, and performing field tests of electronics, radar and fire control systems on all types of US Navy ships. He received his Associates Degree in Business Management in 1976. He jokingly said, between his technical courses in the NAVY and his experience, he had enough credit hours for several PhD’s. In 1977 he again was employed by the federal government at Little Creek Amphibious Base. His Command was NAVAL SHIP WEAPON SYSTEMS ENGINEERING STATION. His major accomplishment at this Command was being appointed Test Developer/ Director of all weapons systems being installed on the WWII era Battleships. He was involved with all of them, the NEW JERSEY, IOWA, MISSOURI and WISCONSIN. These ships projected power wherever they sailed, and were used in Operation Desert Storm. He retired from government service again in 1987.
He and his wife (1986-2012) Jo Ann moved to her childhood home of Montrose CO in 1990. Armed with maps and a 4WD SCOUT he and Jo explored the mountains and canyons of the area. Collecting rocks, fossils, and panning for gold. Being avid for knowledge, he learned everything he could about the geology and archeology of the area. He became quite the “subject matter expert” as usual. He also enjoyed anything to do with the CIVIL WAR. He could talk for hours about any General, battle, or artifact you cared to discuss.
In 2015 he made contact with Ruth. They had met in the mid 70’s. They were both widowed, so they reconnected. They married in SEP 2015. They traveled the country, going from resort to resort enjoying retirement. Even with his health failing, Harold said reuniting with Ruth was a blessing, and the time he had with her was “the happiest of his life”.
Along the way he made many friends. He would do anything for a friend, but if you crossed him, his family or friends…he would bring it to your attention, and give you some “guidance” on how you might remedy the situation. He spoke his mind! He was a 32nd degree Master Mason.
Some of the “handles” given him through the years included: Mullet, Chef, Bowler, Rock Hound, Coach, Golfer, Golf Club Maker, Fisherman, Crabber, Oysterman, Gardener, Model Builder, Handyman, Auto Mechanic, Plumber, and Big Fat. He could do anything he put his mind to, and do it well. These skills meant the family would never go hungry, and repairmen would never be visiting his house.
He was preceded in death by his father, H.L.Gaskill; his mother, H.R. Gaskill; Sisters, Juanita Largen and Hazel Hensdill; wife and mother of his children, Kathleen M. Gaskill; wife, Jo Ann Gaskill.
He is survived by his wife Ruth V.Gaskill; his son Harold Gaskill (Erlinda) Grandchildren Adam (Giulliana), and Troy (Cassandra); Great Grandchildren Maison and Lauren; his daughter Kathleen E.Mihaly, Grandchildren Taylor (Kayla) and Taryn (Brandon) Great Grandchildren Courtney, Addison, Ava; Niece, Kathy Sanford (Harold) and Cousin Alice Mae Taylor.
He will be missed and cherished by many. The world has lost another member of “The Greatest Generation”. Rest easy Chief, your family, friends and shipmates have The Watch. Visitation will be at CrippIn Funeral Home Chapel in Montrose, on Friday Jan 5, 2018 from 6-7PM. In lieu of flowers, please make any Memorial donations to any “Veterans” associated organization. They were always there for him, and a tremendous help to many in need.