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Catherine Balderston Jones Gaskill

GaskillCatherine Balderston Jones Gaskill, 90, of John Knox Village, Orange City, Fla., on July 27, 2017. Cathy was born on January 29, 1927, within the walls of a Civil War fort in Nashville, Tenn., to Quaker parents Esther B. and Thomas E. Jones.

She grew up on the campus of Fisk University, a traditionally African American college of which her father was the last white president. Cathy experienced prejudice at her segregated grade school, where she was rejected by most of her classmates because of her African American friends. At Westtown School, she clerked the student committee on integrating the student body. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1948, she taught in a one-room school in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and then earned a nursing degree from Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, remaining for three years to teach.

She met Roger Gaskill in graduate school at the University of Michigan. They moved to Windermere, Fla., and became early members of Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM). Cathy helped to write the yearly meeting’s Faith and Practice.

In 2005, several years after Roger’s death, Cathy moved to John Knox Village in Orange City, Fla., continuing her longtime activities as a member of Orlando Meeting, as a member of several choral groups, and as a storyteller. Her stories were almost entirely about Quakers, illustrating Friends values. She sewed herself a simple nineteenth-century Quaker outfit, including bonnet, to wear during performances. She also wrote about her experiences as a one-room school teacher and published the story of an ancestor, Ruth’s Gift. She was especially enthusiastic about sharing her concerns with children.

Cathy was predeceased by two brothers, T. Canby Jones and David Jones; and by her husband, Roger Gaskill. She is survived by two children, David Gaskill and Benjamin Gaskill; two daughters-in-law; three grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

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