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Thomas Elmer Gaston

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Thomas Elmer Gaston Obituary
Thomas Elmer Gaston, Sr.

Thomas Elmer Gaston, Sr., 83, died on March 7, 2014 at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. He was born February 2, 1931 to the late Clarence Miles and Ruth Beadnell Gaston of Russellville, Kentucky. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by a sister, Patti, his first wife Dorothy Bradford, his second wife Nancy Deboer, as well as a beloved uncle and aunt, Thurston and Judy Gaston. Tom grew up in Old Hickory, Tennessee and entered the Army after graduation. He was a veteran of the Korean War. He received his BA and Masters Degrees in English from U of K and his doctorate from IU. His early college teaching was at Community Colleges in Cumberland, Fort Knox and Louisville. He retired as professor emeritus of English of Purdue University. Among Tom's interests were the Open Door Unitarian Universalist congregation, Owensboro Twisters, which he founded, Owensboro Toastmasters, the Coffee Party, the Rotary Club, as well as a lifelong love of writing, magic, clowning and working with children. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Colley Smothers Gaston and his four children: Pamela Lee Gaston of Louisville, Thomas E. Gaston, Jr. (Elizabeth) of San Francisco, Theodore Jay Gaston (Mary) of St. Joseph, Missouri and Patricia Lynn Chism of Owensboro; seven grandchildren: Ryan McCormick, Michelle and Brandon Gaston, Andrew and Dorothy Gaston, Lauren Bailey and Tyler Barnard; one great grandchild: Emily McCormick, a brother, Jimmy Gaston and a sister, Brenda Briggs. Friends are invited to join the family to celebrate Tom's life on Tuesday at Glenn Funeral Home. Visitation is from 4 to 6 with the celebration of his life at 6 PM. In lieu of flowers the deceased requested that those who care to do so perform several acts of random kindness. Contributions may be made to Owensboro Twisters or the building fund of the Open Door Unitarian Universalist congregation. Condolences may be offered online at

Published in the Journal & Courier on Mar. 12, 2014
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