Walter Clark Gaston, Jr.
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Walter Clark Gaston, Jr., 72, died Saturday, March 15, 2014.
Born in Rock Hill, he was the son of the late Walter Clark Gaston, Sr. and Sara Peay Gaston.
Mr. Gaston was a lifelong Greenvillian and loved calling it home. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1959 where he played football and competed in the shot put and discus as well. He went on to letter in football at Clemson University where he played for the legendary Coach Frank Howard before graduating in 1964. He served and supported Clemson for many years through IPTAY and was a season ticket holder for football, baseball, and basketball. Clemson was a constant passion for Clark and his blood might really run orange! He graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1972.
Although he practiced law for many years here in Greenville at Gaston and Allison Law Firm, his true love was football. He began his officiating career in 1965 by refereeing both high school and small college games. Soon thereafter, he was honored to be selected to officiate the 1970 Shrine Bowl, where he had also been a player. He then became an official for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1971 and served in that capacity for 32 years. He officiated in 300 Division I games including many bowl games. This accomplishment helped to secure his place in the South Carolina Football Officials Hall of Fame in 1999. Clark was past Director and President of the SC Football Officials Association and past Director of the SC Athletic Hall of Fame. He officiated in four Alonzo Stagg Bowl games, which was the College Division National Championship game during that era. Other notable bowl games included: the 1976 All American Bowl, the 1984 and 1988 Gator Bowls, the 1990 and 1992 Liberty Bowls, the 1991 Tokyo Bowl and the 1992 Cotton Bowl, along with numerous others. Another distinction was being selected to referee the 1998 Army-Navy game. While officiating the Tokyo Bowl in Tokyo, Japan, he became the first Clemson alumni to officiate in a Clemson football game. He was also honored with the 1992 Joe E. Long Service to Officiating Award.
Clark was a member of Disciples United Methodist Church where he served on the Finance Committee and also coached boys basketball. For many years, he also enjoyed staying active and working out at the Greenville YMCA, now renamed the Caine Halter YMCA. He served on their Open Doors campaign for numerous years. He was a member of the Greenville Touchdown Club and enjoyed attending those meetings and events as much as possible. He served on the Salvation Army Board as they were helping to plan for the Kroc Center to open in Greenville. Clark was a member of the American Bar Association and the SC Bar Association. He was a devoted grandfather and never missed coming to his grandsons' sporting events even if that meant coming in his wheelchair.
Surviving are his wife of 48 years, Mary Houston Gaffney Gaston; two daughters, Ashley Gaston Douglas and son-in-law, Michael Douglas of Greenville and Mary Clark Gaston Guillory and son-in-law, Garrett Guillory of Spring Hill, TN; two grandsons, Dixon Douglas and Clark Douglas of Greenville; and a sister, Sara Jo Gaston Moore and her husband, Bill Moore, of Greenville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Caine Halter YMCA, Open Doors Campaign, 721 Cleveland St., Greenville, SC 29601 or Triune Mercy Center, 222 Rutherford St., Greenville, SC 29609.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, March 19, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church. The funeral service will follow in the sanctuary at 12:00 p.m. Burial will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.thomasmcafee.com.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home - Downtown Chapel
639 North Main Street Greenville, SC 29601
Published in The Greenville News from Mar. 18 to Mar. 19, 2014