Almeta “Alma” Willis Gaskill, 82, of Harkers Island, passed away on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at her home surrounded by her family.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, March 19, 2021 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Harkers Island. The funeral will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at the church. She will be laid to rest in Vergie Mae Cemetery at Harkers Island.
(Established social distancing and wearing of masks guidelines will be followed to ensure the safety of those in attendance.
If you are not able to attend the funeral services in person, you may use the following link to view the funeral broadcast: https://zoom.us/j/92460407381?pwd=S1BJSGZnS3llRGZsd0plRkFKenF5UT09
If prompted, the meeting number is 924 6040 7381 and passcode is 546125.
If you are unable to join the video feed broadcast, you can access an audio feed of the broadcast by dialing: 301-715-8592 and enter meeting id 92460407381 and passcode 546125 when prompted. The broadcast will begin 15 minutes before the start of the funeral services.)
Almeta was born in the “old” Beaufort Hospital on Friday, January 13, 1939 to Alfred and Nannie Willis. Almeta had many nicknames throughout her life that she went by, Meetsy, Meet, Meet Baby Lee, but her most favorite that she was called by her family and close friends in her late adult years was Alma. She always made it a point to say she was born on Friday the 13th. She was the apple of her parents’ eyes along with her older brother Larry who adored this new addition to the family. She grew up on the island, the daughter of a fisherman and his wife, starting in her home to the Westard and then moving closer to her Ma’s family in the middle of the island when she was in elementary school. She was called the “Shirley Temple” of Harkers Island because her Mama would dress her in stylish dresses and curl her hair in the Shirley Temple style of the day.
Almeta was born to a family who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for generations. She loved to talk about her ancestors who had joined the church and their conversion stories. She was baptized a member of the church when she was 8 years old by her father. She also loved to share her testimony of Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. She would include her beautiful testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the scriptures including The Book of Mormon. She always reminded everyone this wonderful book was another Testament of Jesus Christ. She loved to read, but her favorite books were about Gospel topics and of course her scriptures. Despite her lack of formal education she was very well versed and loved to have in-depth gospel discussions.
She had the privilege of going to the temple for the first time when she was 12 years old. Her Pa and Ma and Uncle Derwood and family headed west in 1951 to Mesa, AZ where they were sealed together for time and all eternity as a family. She would later attend the temple many times starting with her first visit as an adult in 1985 at the Washington DC Temple. She would follow up with many other visits to many other temples but some of her favorite trips were for the opportunity to go with her posterity. She also enjoyed the trips she would take with her cousins Lena, Loretta, Mattie Gray, and Halsie. They went often enough that others at the temple nicknamed them “Mary’s Angels” after their common ancestor Mary Lewis Willis.
Almeta was an Island girl through and through with salt water in her veins. She loved to be on the water, at the lighthouse, and eating her favorite seafood, etc. One of the things she was most proud of and loved to share about was her Island heritage. She would tell her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren often to “Remember who you are, what you are, and where you came from.”
Almeta loved to go to school. She would play school when she wasn’t in school. She walked to school with Pa holding her hand until she was old enough to walk with the neighborhood children. Her Ma would pack her lunch for her. She would also help other kids with their homework. She was so smart, everyone who went to school with her always loved to remind her of how smart she was especially while they were in school.
Almeta married her sweetheart Thomas Carroll Gaskill when she was young and they had three children - Tommy, Camella, and Crystal. They lived in Harkers Island and Davis and sometimes in Key West, Florida when Thomas had work there. Later, Almeta would move with the children back to Harkers Island. She found herself in a difficult situation but she was determined to make everything work as much as possible. When times were hard, her mantra remained “penny by penny, we’ll work it out.” She was an inspiration to her family and all who knew her.
Almeta loved all things related to movies. She would scratch her brother’s head for a quarter which meant she would have enough money to pay the 5 cents ticket price and then be able to get 4 treats at the theater. Her Grandma Hannah would go to the movies twice a week to see the movies as they changed in those days and showed 2 different movies a week in the old Harkers Island Theater. Her favorite movie in later years was Secretariat and she watched it at least once a week. We always knew it was about a horse but it was also about a strong woman and her determination to make it in a “man’s world”. Watching Hallmark movies was another favorite pastime. She could be found any time of year with a Christmas movie on.
Almeta loved to take trips. Any trip. Anywhere. All that had to be said was we are going and she was ready. She went by air, boat, bus, car, van, anything that would move. She was able to visit most of the 48 continental United States and the countries of Canada and Mexico.
Almeta would always love to get all dolled up whenever she went somewhere even from a young age. She loved to have her hair done and for most of her life would have her hair in her iconic permed curls. She had a love of jewelry and all things bling and you would always see her with the works, a necklace, earrings, bracelets, and rings on that all coordinated perfectly with her outfits. She would often be found in her bedroom trying on her clothes playing dress up, doing her makeup, painting her nails, and going through her jewelry.
Almeta always loved to “feed the multitudes.” She was always known for her delicious cooking and baking skills. She had a wonderful memory and could tell you a recipe from memory up until her passing. She loved to “play” in the kitchen and experiment and come up with different recipes and cook and bake with her family. She would go on to start a catering company called Alma and Co. where she along with her two daughters and their families would cater different events and weddings! To Almeta it was more than food and the events it was making people happy and bringing people together.
Almeta is survived by her two daughters, Camella Marcom and husband, BL of Harkers Island and Crystal Gaskill of Harkers Island; daughter-in-law Terri Gaskill of Otway; grandchildren, Kelli Gaskill of Durham, NC, Nana and David Willis of South River, Daniel and Windy Gaskill of Bogue, NC, Camber and Clint Jones of Pottstown, PA, Brenton Marcom of Burlington, NC, Cailey and Stuart Morgan of Clayton, NC, and Crystan and Austin Snow of Jacksonville, NC; great-grandchildren, Camdon Jones, Carolina Jones, Ashlyn Marcom, Spencer Morgan, Corbin Jones, Nathan Marcom, Cordelia Jones, Abigail Gaskill, and Caelyn Snow.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Alfred and Nannie Willis; brother, Larry Willis; her husband, Thomas Gaskill; her son, Tommy Gaskill; grandsons, Evan Davis and Hunter Gaskill.
Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noefs.net
Arrangements by Noe Funeral Service, Inc. of Beaufort, NC.
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