of Little Rock, AR
November 2, 1933 - July 29, 2022
Samuel Albert (Bert) Gaston, Jr. of Little Rock, AR passed away on Friday, July 29th at the age of 88. Bert was born in 1933 in Brewton, AL and graduated from Newton, MS High School in 1951. Afterward, he served in the 11th Airborne Division of the US Army before studying at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, from which he graduated in 1958 with a degree in geology. It was at Alabama that Bert met the love of his life, Thelma Marshall, his wife of 61 years, before her passing in 2019.Bert was an active member of the Kappa Alpha Order while in college. After graduation, he and Thelma were active in the flower industry, which brought them to Little Rock, AR in 1987, where they grew Southern Wholesale Florists into Arkansas's premiere provider of cut flowers and floral supplies. Bert exuded a passion for learning all his life. He had a love for music from an early age and was selected for the Lions All-State Band in high school. He frequently entertained friends and family with songs and a wonderful singing voice. He trained for and achieved his FAA Private Pilot certification. Bert and Thelma both earned their Coast Guard Captain certification, a friendly competition between them for the highest test marks, and of course, bragging rights.Bert took his passion for learning and creating into making beautiful, and highly desirable, custom knives. He was an active member of the American Bladesmith Society for many years, where he achieved distinction as a Master Smith. He served the ABS as Vice President and a Board Director and taught many classes at ABS schools, where he shared his knowledge and passion for blade smithing. Bert was inducted into the American Bladesmith Society Hall of Fame in 2021.His wife, Thelma and parents, Albert and Edith Gaston predeceased Bert. He is survived by his sons, Al (Barbara), Jack (Misty) and Jim (Kim) Gaston and his daughter, Daphne Wassamire (Charlie); grandchildren, Barclay Gaston (Caroline), Lindley Adler (Lee), Sam Treadway, Abby Treadway (Lauren), Tyler Gaston, Leslie Gaston, John Gaston and Grey Gaston; great-grandson, Sid and many nieces, nephews and cousins.A celebration of life service will be held at Roller Chenal Funeral Home, 13801 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR 72211 on Friday, August 5th at 11:00 AM. Visitation and food at Roller Chenal immediately after the service.
Jack, I was truly sorry to learn of Bert's passing. I had tried to call him a couple of days ago in preparation for our annual birthday call - his on 11/02. mine on the 11/17 -to learn the number I have had been disconnected. From there, after searching the internet I got the bad news. Please accept my deepest sympathy to the rest of the family and had I known of his passing, I would have surely been there for my life long friend.
Sorry for your loss. I first met Bert the 1st Bill Moran hammer-in. My son Clayton was just out of chemo and we were accepted into the knife making world by Bert, Joe Kessler, and Larry Harley. I returned to the school many times and he treated me like a long lost friend. BB Johnston
I’m so sorry to hear about Bert. He was such a hero of mine. Bert judged me for my Mastersmith Rating in the ABS it was such a Honor. I will miss Bert dearly. I’m a better man for knowing him.
Al, I was so sorry to read about the death of your father in the Meridian paper. I see you were named after him. I remember you so well, because it was my very first year to teach English and you were so very, very smart and kind to all. My condolences. Diane Reynolds
My first job that I had was working for Mr. Gaston after I got out of high school in the 1980's.Him and his family are some of the best people I've ever had the chance to work for. His and Miss Thelma's passing were both a shock. But, they will forever walk hand in hand in the Lord's house forever. Prayers for the family for peace. God bless you all. Mary Henderson (My maiden name was Mary Givens when I worked for them.)
We are very sad to learn of Bert's passing, yet comforted by the knowledge that he is now reunited with his beloved Thelma. Our thoughts are with his devoted family. We will treasure our many wonderful memories of ABS activities together, travels to France and visits in their Arkansas home. Rest in peace, dear friend.