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James Gaston

1941 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
James Gaston Obituary
James A. "Jim" Gaston, 73

James A. "Jim" Gaston, owner of Arkansas' renowned Gaston's White River Resort, has died at age 73, in Mountain Home. He was born December 18, 1941, in Herrin, Illinois to Albert and Iola (Cosey) Gaston. He married Jill Glenn February 7, 1986, in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Al Gaston started the legendary Gaston's White River Resort in 1958, with Jim inheriting the operation at the age of 20. At that time, Gaston's consisted of six cabins on 20 acres, and six boats. The complex now spans 400 acres, two miles of river frontage, has 79 cottages, 70 boats and a 3,200-foot airstrip. The resort features a renowned restaurant as well.

An early champion of tourism in the state, Gaston was a lifetime member of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Commission. He served as a president of the group and was commissioner emeritus. He also served as president of the Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation and was a past president of Arkansas Hospitality Association.

Gaston was slated to be honored with the Legacy Award from the Arkansas Outdoors Hall of Fame, which is a project of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Gaston was selected for the honor because of the key role he played in establishing trout fishing in Arkansas.

In 2010, Gaston was honored as the Business Executive of the Year by Arkansas Business and was a 1999 inductee into the Arkansas Outdoors Hall of Fame.

Locally, Gaston served in the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce and many other groups. He was an inductee in the ASU-Mountain Home Trout Hall of Fame. He was named Arkansas Tourism Man of the year in 1985.

Gaston was a philanthropist as well, sponsoring the Gaston Lobby at Roller Hall on the ASU-MH campus, as well as endowing the Gaston Lecture Series at the college.

Gaston is memorialized for all his contributions by the James A. Gaston Visitor Center at the Bull Shoals-Whiter River State Park. The $4.7 million complex covers 15,744 square feet and includes state of the art Environmental Education Learning Center.

Later in life, Gaston became an accomplished outdoors photographer, publishing "An Ozark Perspective", a collection of his work.

Gaston is survived by his wife Jill Gaston of Lakeview, Arkansas, a step-son Phiilip Moudy and wife Dana of Gassville, Arkansas, a brother Larry Gaston and wife Shelly of El Dorado, Kansas, grandchildren Clint Gaston and Ashley Moore both of Lakeview, Arkansas and Morgan Moudy and Dallas Moudy both of Gassville, Arkansas, two great grandchildren Kylie and Cade Pulke both of Lakeview, Arkansas, a niece Michele Cauele of Liberal, Kansas and a nephew Lindsey Gaston of Liverpool, England. He was preceded in death by his parents and a son Eric Gaston.

Memorial services will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, 2015, at the Vada Shied Center at Arkansas State University Mountain Home. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Ozarks Hospice House, Arkansas Tourism Development Education Foundation Scholarship Fund or Jim Gaston Scholarship Fund at ASU.

Arrangements are by Roller Funeral Home.

Visit our online guestbook: www.rollerfuneralhomes.com

Published in Baxter Bulletin from July 17 to July 20, 2015
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