Arkansas, aviation, and I lost a dear friend, today. I first met Jim in the 1980s. He was an extremely nice person who had a great deal of interest in everyone around him. As owner of Gaston’s Resort, his life came into contact with so many people. As president of the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society, I had the pleasure of notifying his family before he passed that was a nominee to receive the 2015 Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame award.
There was so much more to Jim than just aviation. He was so strong in the Arkansas Parks and Tourism for many years. He was a good friend to everyone and had many abilities; flying, community and state service, photographer, collector of antiques, lover of wild life, but most of all a good friend to everyone he came in contact.
Jim has touched many people over his seventy-three years and many don’t even realize it. His role as member of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism committee for many years effected Arkansans and tourists from so many states.
Received the Arkansas Tourism Person of the Year Award in 1985 and the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1998 was chosen by Active Years as one of the Most Admired People in Arkansas. In 2010, Jim was chosen as the Arkansas Business Executive of the Year. Held various leadership positions with the Arkansas Hospitality Association and received the Associations Silver Cup for Tourism Award. Has served on the board of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce and the Ozark Mountain Region. Served as a volunteer at the Bull Shoals State Park Visitor Center that bears his name the Jim A. Gaston Visitor Center.
Richard Davies, Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department, said, “Jim Gaston was a good friend with Gov. Dale Bumpers. Much of the time Gaston was ahead of his time.
i.e. In 1998 Gaston urged the State Parks and Tourism to get on the, at that time, unknown Internet. He performed great on committees always being two steps ahead of the other board members. His interest turned from Aviation to motorcycles, steam engines, fountain pens, watches, guns and on.”
As Jim’s friend, I will miss him very much. God be with his family and friends during this difficult time.
Ralph McCormick, Publisher FLY-LOW Publications
President of AAHS