Bernard Odell Gaston
April 22, 1924 – January 2, 2019
Bernard Odell Gaston passed away at INTEGRIS Health in Edmond, Okla., Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at the age of 94. He was born April 22, 1924 in Ballinger Tx. to Ernest and Nora Gaston.
He was a World War 2 veteran and served with the Army Air Corps from August 30, 1943 through November 19, 1945 and was a member of the 379th Bomb Group. He was trained as a fighter pilot but at the turn of the war, pilots weren’t needed as much as were personnel for B-17’s. However, being trained as a pilot he understood how to calculate where to aim and was highly valued as a gunner. Many times, the plane he was in was shot up. One time, shrapnel flack tore through the plane and through his flight suit, causing him to lose heat in freezing weather. He developed frost bite so badly that he permanently lost much of the feeling in his hands and feet. Flying in the loud planes, he also lost part of his hearing. During his time in the Air Corps, he was given 2 Purple Hearts as well as many other medals and commendations.
After he returned from the War, he was driving one day and almost ran over a beautiful young brunette who was crossing the street. She turned and gave him what would become her famous “Eddie glare”. He was totally mesmerized and fell hard in love from that day forward, finally convincing her to marry him when she turned 18. They had a wonderful marriage for 59 years.
Bernard had many interests. He enjoyed playing and watching baseball. He enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing. He was an expert at frying catfish (much to his daughter-in-law’s delight!)
He LOVED driving fast. When he was young, he fixed up his car to go faster than the local police cars. They finally got smart and would just go to his house and wait for him to come home! He enjoyed building race cars. He enjoyed attending the Indianapolis 500 and sitting in AJ Foyt’s pit.
He loved working on cars, planes and anything with an engine. He could fix almost everything, especially anything mechanical. In fact, he studied mechanical engineering and math on the GI bill at Nebraska University.
He and his beloved wife, Eddie, enjoyed square dancing and ballroom dancing together. They spent many hours playing cards or dominoes with family and friends.
Bernard worked as a pipeline welder, working on the Alaskan pipeline for several years. He had many interesting stories about his time in Alaska, such as telling about the Grizzly bears that would show up at their camps and worksites or telling how fast “spit” would freeze before it hit the ground. Bernard was a member of the Pipeliners Union 798 for 66 years.
After Bernard retired from welding in his 50’s, he went back to school and became a Dental Laboratory Technician. He also became Certified working on small engines.
He was talented artistically and spent many hours creating and building jewelry. He also enjoyed wood working and carving and creating something from old pieces of wood.
Later in life, he worked as a painter for his brother-in-law’s commercial paint company. He was sought after to do remodeling and refinishing home projects because of his work-ethic and the quality of his work.
He loved flying with his brother-in-law, Jack, in Jack’s plane. Bernard loved visiting museums, especially about planes, aircraft and discussing WWII adventures with his brothers-in-law and other veterans. He loved to talk to people and never knew a stranger.
But he especially LOVED being with his family and enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Clearly Bernard had many wonderful life experiences. However, they pale in comparison to the single greatest experience of his 94 years. God’s faithfulness was abundantly on display when Bernard fully surrendered his heart to the Lord just TWO WEEKS before the Lord called him home.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Randall & Brenda Gaston; his grandchildren, Brad and Michelle Womack, Debbie Gerards, JJ and Trisha Grant, Nicholas and Nikki Gaston, Chris Grant, Casey and Rachael McGowan, Wes and Charity Desmond; and 19 great-grandchildren. Bernard was preceded in death by his loving wife, Eddie Bob Gaston, of nearly 60 years and his son, Bernard Ray Grant. He was a friend to all and will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Bernard’s life will be 2:00 p.m., Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Council Road Baptist Church.
- Memorial Service Thursday, January 10, 2019
Bernard Odell Gaston
January 12, 2019
Bernie was a very special person to our family. We loved listening to his stories and he reminded us so much of our own PaPa! He made my sister and I some beautiful wooden kitchen utensils that we still use to this very day! We will miss him dearly!
January 11, 2019
Bernie was a beloved deacon and member of Lake Eufaula Christian Church. He was always a hero in our eyes. We will dearly miss him here, but we are ecstatic that he has received his eternal heavenly reward with God. We pray for peace, strength, and comfort for all of Bernie’s family. Your LECC family