William "Bill" John Oral Gaston passed away on August 3, 2019 at the age of 93 in Franklin Grove, IL. He was born in a small farmhouse on February 7, 1926 to Charles and Della (Branson) Gaston in Amboy, Illinois.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Helen; his children, Denise (Elmer) Coots of Round Lake Beach, IL, Janet Gaston Seitz of Phoenix, AZ, Norman Dale (Pamela) Gaston of Shabbona, IL, Deana Gaston of Hainesville, IL, Sherril Gaston of Harvard, IL and Darrel (Kelley) Gaston of Phoenix, AZ; as well as 16 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents, 1 brother, 7 sisters, 1 granddaughter and 1 great-grandson.
Bill was born the 8th child of nine into a family with 1 brother and 7 sisters. Raised by his father and older sister when his mother passed away from Erysipelatous when he was only two.
He spent his school years in Rochelle, IL and played Varsity Football and Basketball for Rochelle High. At 17 he entered the Air Corps Enlisted Reserve and at the end of his junior year was called up for Active Duty as an Air Corps Aviation Cadet in 1944. While in the Air Corp, Bill won the prestigious Golden Gloves Boxing title. At the end of the war he returned to Rochelle and worked various jobs.
In 1964 Bill met the love of his life, Helen Pasley, at the Blue Moon in Elgin, IL. He described Helen as a “No nonsense type of gal, unlike many I had dated”. They married on July 10, 1965 and just celebrated their 54th anniversary.
Bill started his own business, Gaston Tire & Supply in DeKalb, IL in 1963. He moved his business and family to Shabbona, IL in 1968. In 1977 Bill became service and parts manager for the Tom Ferris Chevy/Olds in Marengo, IL. In 1982 he took over as service manager for State Street Motors in Sycamore, IL. Bill was known for being honest and conscientious with his customers. In, 1989 he returned to his hometown of Rochelle, IL and began managing The Countryside Village Apartments with his wife Helen until his retirement in 2006.
Bill was civic minded and proud of his family and country. He was a Commander & District Commander in the Rochelle American Legion and member for 32 years and served on the Honor Guard. A Kiwanis member with perfect attendance for 30 years, and a member of the United Methodist Church. Bill had also served as a Cub Scout Leader and Boy Scout Committee Chairperson. His recognitions by many organizations for his dedication and loval service are too numerous to name. One of the highlights of his last years was his WWII Honor Flight trip to Washington D.C. He was so moved by his trip to D.C. that with help from his daughters Denise and Deana they put together a Veterans bus trip to DC in 2011 for all veterans WWII thru Vietnam.
Bill loved to be surrounded by his family. Grandchildren had a special place in his heart. Children were drawn to him and looked forward to sitting on his lap or knee getting “Getty up a horsey, go to town” rides and watching for the “bumblebee” to get them. Those closest to Bill enjoyed listening to his life stories. He always had his camera or video camera handy to capture family moments! Bill and Helen enjoyed traveling around the United States and especially to Branson, MO where they enjoyed listening to their country music stars. Two of Bill’s claim to fame moments were winning the DeKalb and Shabbona Centennial Handle Bar Mustache contests. He was also a Master Parade Float builder. Bill was an avid woodworker and spent many hours working on the family genealogy and organizing the Gaston Family Reunions.
There are not words to express how much Bill will be missed by his wife, family and friends. He loved well and was well loved in return. We cherish the legacy that he leaves us and strive to live life to the fullest just as he did.
Services will be held on Saturday, August 10th at the Rochelle United Methodist Church 709 4th Ave. Rochelle, IL. Visitation is from 9 to 11 am with funeral service at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the William Gaston Memorial Fund, addressed to the Gaston Family in care of Beverage Lyons Family Funeral Home 704 N. 6th St. Rochelle, IL 61068.
Arrangements entrusted to Beverage-Lyons Family Funeral Home, Rochelle, IL. Online condolences may be made at: www.beveragelyonsfamilyfh.com