William “Bill” Harvey Gaston passed away listening to his favorite band, Huey Lewis and the News, while lying beside the love of his life, Diane, on Friday, April 21, 2023, in Ocala, Florida.
For the last 15 years Bill and Diane enjoyed their “second life” in Florida – spending 6 months (and 1 day) in the sunshine state, while avoiding the dreary West Virginia winters. In the summer, the pair would head north, back to West Virginia – just in time for 4th of July Fireworks to be set oﬀ on their farm – typically by son Benjamin and son-in-law, David.
Bill loved their WV family life, as well as their sunshine state “snowbird” life. It was perfect.
He was born in Philippi, WV and grew up in Buckhannon, WV. There, his love for golf began. He played throughout his high school years at Buckhannon Upshur (class of ’74) and was awarded a college scholarship to East Tennessee State. It was widely known on campus that his dorm room carpet had holes in it, as he never stopped practicing his golf swing. He then transferred to West Virginia Wesleyan and remained until he played out his eligibility for college sports. He was not awarded a degree, which didn’t bother him, because golf was his main (and only) interest at the time. From there he moved to Florida to live out his childhood dream and played as a professional on the Sun Coast Tour.
The entrepreneurial spirit was inside of him from a very early age, which prompted a very eclectic career. In his early years this included buying and running ice cream trucks in Dallas, Texas. Then, on to opening a packing and shipping business in Colorado. To circling back to West Virginia where he opened Custom Pack and Ship in Morgantown, with his father Jim, Brother Paul, and Sister Lou Ellen.
If he had an impulse and thought it could make him money – he did it – without hesitation.
Later, a friend of his father helped him get started with his ﬁnal business venture, a career in the oil and gas industry. Doing this, he worked and traveled all over the country, speciﬁcally in New York, Florida, and Kentucky. As his health became an issue, he stopped traveling, but he never stopped working. DWG Oil and Gas Acquisition was run out of his Morgantown, WV or Ocala, FL oﬃce until the day he died.
“Don’t chase the money, chase the work” was his motto that he learned (and taught others) to live by.
At the age of 35, he was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), or the big “F” as Diane would call it. After his diagnosis, his mother, Dorothy, was also diagnosed with the disease. He adjusted and adapted to all the symptoms presented – usually with a smile on his face – even if it was an extreme struggle for him on the inside.
He did not want to be deﬁned by this disease, rather, he wanted to prove that his disease would not stop him from doing what he wanted in life. He was aware that it might look a little bit diﬀerent for him, and that was okay.
If he liked something, he would order a dozen to make sure he never ran out. He was overly generous and exorbitantly kind to those he loved. He lived a full, loving, and rich life – and always ordered multiple appetizers.
He had a smile that would warm your heart and you would never forget.
Bill was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Ellen Walls Gaston. Sister, Belinda D’Anne Gaston Crumrine Spurlock. Grandparents – Maternal Grandfather Dr. William Walls and Grandmother Dorothy Ramsey Walls of Phillipi, WV. Paternal Grandparents, Harvey Jr. Gaston and Willa (Billie) Frances Rollins Gaston.
Those left behind – Wife, Diane Frances Market Gaston. Son – Benjamin William Harvey Gaston (Keshia), Daughter – Samantha Knight Hansen (David), Grandchildren – Michael and Lillian Hansen. Father – James Edwards Gaston. Brothers – Raymond Parrish Gaston (Pamela), Paul Rollins Gaston (Angela), Lou Ellen Gaston Goodwin (Douglas). Nephew Paul Crumrine and Nieces Bridget Crumrine and Natasha Goodwin.
The family asks that contributions be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA.org) to assist in research in curing this disease.
A Celebration of his Life will be held at the family’s farm in late June 2023.