On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, William “Bill” Gaskins Jr. went home to meet his Maker surrounded by the family that will always love him and miss him.
Bill Gaskins shared his gifts of smiles, hugs and generosity with all who he met in his life. Born Nov. 23, 1943, in Billings, Mont., Bill was the first of two children born to William and Helen Gaskins. At the end of World War II, Bill and baby brother Wally moved with their parents to Spokane. Bill attended Edison Elementary, Libbey Junior High and Lewis and Clark High Schools. With his brother close behind him in school, the brothers (known as Willy and Wally in Spokane) excelled in football and track and field. In 1962, Bill accepted a football/track scholarship to attend Washington State University.
At WSU, Bill would come into his own playing football, running track, finding his academic calling in pharmacy and meeting Felicia, the love of his life. When Bill’s college eligibility ended in 1966, Bill’s honors included All-AAWU Conference safety, UPI second team All-American, All-West Coast recognition and the J. Fred Bohler Inspirational Award. The icing on the cake was when Bill was signed by the Calgary Stampeders to play in the Canadian Football League for former Cougar coach Jerry Williams. After two seasons in Calgary, Bill returned to WSU with his family to complete his pharmacy degree.
In 1970, after completing his internship and board exams, Bill accepted the position of manager of the Pullman Memorial Hospital pharmacy and clinical instructor in the College of Pharmacy at WSU. He was later promoted to director. It quickly became apparent that the return to Pullman and the position in the hospital was a perfect fit for Bill. Hospital pharmacy in a college town offered Bill the opportunity to interact with patients, mentor students, and with increases in pharmacy staff, provide more services and new practices to the hospital. Living in Pullman also brought new opportunities to remain close to another love, athletics.
Bill became a football official beginning with high school and small college football. He would go on to referee Pac-10 football for 17 years, included refereeing bowl games and serving on the board of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). Bill served as the WSU track starter, a member of the Pullman City Council from 1977-81 and Pullman Rotary Club president from 1984-85. The WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals recognized Bill with the R. Keith Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award during the Crimson Gala on Oct. 18, 2019.
Bill Gaskins was preceded in death by his parents, William and Helen Gaskins. He is greatly loved and deeply missed by his wife, Felicia; brother Walter Gaskins (Yoshiko), of Morgan Hills, Calif.; daughter Helen L. Washington (Carl), of Portland, Ore.; son William T. Gaskins III (Carmen), of Bothel, Wash.; brother-in-law W. Don Cornwell (Saundra), of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and five grandchildren, Carlen A. Washington, of Portland, Ore., Courtney A. Washington (Adam Ebberbach), of Vancouver, Wash., Hilary Zuniga Camacho, of Bothel, Wash., Jorge Zuniga Camacho, of Bothel, Wash., and Caleb J. Washington, of Portland, Ore.; and scores of family and friends.
A service to honor Bill’s life will not be held until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations to the Pullman Regional Hospital Gaskins Scholars Award, 840 SE Bishop Blvd., Suite 200, Pullman, WA 99163; or the William and Felicia Gaskins Scholarship at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99202-2131.
Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman is caring for the family. Online condolences may be made at www.kimballfh.com.