Remembering William Gaskins, Jr.
I just discovered that Bill Gaskins, a friend of mine whom I’d lost track of, died a few years ago. I’m saddened, I lost a friend.
Allow me to share something with you about him….
As my friend Mark Silver recently moved to Harrisburg, Pa, I was excited at the prospect of introducing him to William Gaskins, a friend and man who had helped me in my career. I hadn’t talked to Bill in many years, so was also jazzed about the prospect of reconnecting with him.
But his wife instead of him was on his voicemail, which seemed ominous to me.
So I did a search and, sure enough, learned he’d passed a few years back.
Because of his outsized personality and his role as Director of Intergroup and Education Services with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Bill was one of these people who knew a lot of people. In his professional capacity, he mentored hundreds of folks on issues of inclusion.
I was, as they say, “a young brother on the come up” and Bill took me under his wing. My association with him led to my getting a number of speaking and consulting engagements, plus endless conversations on issues of inclusion.
After reading his obituary, I called his wife Trudy. We talked about Bill, the full life he led, and how he often spoke of me.
I’m saddened to think that he’s gone, and feel badly that I didn’t keep in better touch.
I’ve lost a number of people this past year. Each time I lose someone, it saddens, but also deepens me. Although their bodies are no longer here, and I can no longer talk with them on the phone, something of them lives in me.
I think the best I can do with that is to exemplify what they’ve given me, according to the philosophy of “One Grains, Ten Thousand Grains.” https://medium.com/…/one-grain-ten-thousand-grains-5a8c90c3….
The essence of the philosophy is that if someone gives you something, you can do as nature does as she demonstrates when planting a grain of rice. That grain of rice eventually produces 10,000 grains.
So if someone gives you something of value, you should be prepared to return it forward 10,000 times.
Here’s what the obituary people wrote about Bill. (It barely does him justice).
Farewell, old friend.
I love you.