Developer, youth advocate Bill Gaskins dies at age 83
Bill Gaskins, a long-time resident of Port Aransas who was an avid supporter of causes benefiting youth and the disabled, died at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 12, 2007, in a Corpus Christi hospital. He was 83.
A private scattering of the ashes with friends and family will be held at 10 a.m. today, Thursday, July 19, aboard the Island Queen.
Gaskins and his son, Billy Gaskins, were co-owners of the Island Queen and The Mustang, fishing and nature tour boats.
Gaskins began transferring his business interests to Port Aransas from Corpus Christi in the late 1950s and early 1960s, his son said.
Born Feb. 14, 1924, in San Antonio, he grew up in the Alamo City and entered the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school. After leaving the navy, Gaskins moved to Corpus Christi where he was involved with a finance company. He began investing in real estate in the 1950s, and in the 1960s he was a partner in the development of Shibui Sands in Port Aransas. He also partnered in the development of Island Moorings and Channel Vista subdivisions, a charter fishing agency now known as Deep Sea Headquarters, the Family Center IGA and the Ice Box Convenience Stores (now Stripes).
In addition, Gaskins and the late I.B. Magee Jr. bought the Port Aransas Marina from the original San Antonio developers. They continued to build custom homes until the development was completed.
Gaskins and Magee also built and operated the first complete lumberyard in Port Aransas, but it was destroyed by Hurricane Celia in 1970.
"Bill and his family, and our family, in addition to a large variety of business interests, enjoyed many memorable travels, fishing and hunting trips over the years. Bill led a colorful life, and was always an individual and a friend," said Jim Magee, who is I.B. Magee's son.
When one of the old nine-car ferryboats was retired, Gaskins bought it and turned it into a charter fishing boat, the Island Queen, in which his son later became a partner. The businesses expanded to include nature tours, and The Island Queen II and The Mustang were added to the fleet.
For the past 12 years, Gaskins has hosted the Anglers on Wheels Fishing Tournament for disabled anglers. The tournament was co-sponsored by the San Antonio non-profit organization, Door in the Wall.
Gaskins also offered free nature tours for Port Aransas school district classes, advocating the "necessity of taking care of our estuaries. . . We've got to protect the environment or we're lost."
In addition to his philanthropic acts to further educational and youth-oriented programs, Gaskins served on the Port Aransas City Council from April 1966 to April 1968.
Gaskins was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie.
Survivors in addition to his son are his grandchildren, Willie, Taylor, Zack and Olivia Gaskins, all of Port Aransas.