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Obituary: James Marshall (Jim) Gaskin, 1937-2008


Jim Gaskin was a giant of Kentucky broadcasting and entertainment, whose half century long career included stints at several Kentucky radio stations including a time at WAIN in Columbia. He was a graduate of Lindsey Wilson College who had been honored by LWC for his distinguished career in broadcast and stage. He was known as "The Voice of Renfro Valley"
Obituary, photo, courtesy Stith Funeral Home, Danville, KY

James Marshall "Jim" Gaskin, 70, of Danville, KY died May 3, 2008, at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville after a short illness.

Services will be 1:00pmET/NoonCT, Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at Stith Funeral Home with Brother Don Drake and Pastor Vola Brown. Burial will be in Bellevue Cemetery. Visitation will be after 3:00pmET/2:00pmCT, Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at the funeral home, 318 West Broadway, Danville, KY.

Born September 27, 1937, in Russell Springs, KY, he was a son of the late Alvin L. Gaskins and Iola Swanson Gaskins of Russell Springs.

A broadcaster and musician for more than 50 years, he was a part-time broadcast engineer and sales manager of Danville WDFB AM-FM Christian Radio since 1985 and the writer of the nationally syndicated radio show "Sunday Morning Gatherin" at Renfro Valley. He was also a master of ceremonies, fiddler and singer in the Renfro Valley Barn Dance for many years. Jim was known as the "Voice of Renfro Valley."

A member of the Grace Fellowship Church in Stanford, Jim graduated from Russell County High School in 1954 and earned an associate degree in music from Lindsey Wilson College in 1956. He was a graduate of the Professional Academy of Broadcasting in Knoxville, TN, and holds a first-class engineer's license. Jim was a broadcaster for over 50 years, having been associated with radio stations WAIN in Columbia, KY WKAY in Glasgow and WEZY in Williamsburg. He was owner and broadcast engineer at WIRV in Irvine, WRSL in Stanford, WRVK in Renfro Valley and WKXO in Berea. While in Irvine with WIRV, he was president of the Estill County Jaycees and president of the Estill Chamber of Commerce, served on the Estill County Fair Board and the Estill County Library Board.

He was a member of the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln County Fair Board. Jim wrote the music and was musical director for two plays at Pioneer Playhouse in Danville and performed at the opening season press party for many years. He was the producer of the Old Time Fiddlers Convention and Show for Lions Bluegrass Fair and performed with the Eastern Kentucky University Band featuring the fiddle. Jim also started the Old Time Fiddlers Convention and Show for Renfro Valley.

Jim was the music, sound and recording engineer, as well as the master of ceremonies, for Cooper School of Dance recitals for many years. He was a member of COPETS, the Kentucky Colonels, Gideon's International and the American Federation of Musicians. He was named Mr. Dee Jay USA in 1960, one of the ten Outstanding Young Men in Kentucky in 1975 and listed in the National Biography of Country Music. Jim was honored with a Doctor of Music degree from St. Andrews Ecumenical University, St. Andrews, Scotland, and with Certificates of Appreciation from Estill County and Lincoln County 4-H, Estill Co. Saddle Club, and the Lincoln County Farm Bureau.

The Lindsey Wilson National Alumni Association honored him with a Special Achievement Award for his distinguished career on the stage and in broadcasting. He was inducted into the Renfro Valley Hall of Fame in 1995, and in April 2006, he was honored for 50 years in music by Lindsey Wilson College for his outstanding accomplishments in the music industry and broadcasting.

Jim was recognized as one of the few "old time music" fiddlers performing true traditional tunes. He performed for Transylvania College's 100th anniversary celebration, the opening of Boonesboro State Park, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., with the Cumberland Rangers, at the National Folk Festival in Washington, at Ryman Theatre in Nashville, Tenn., and for many concerts and lectures in universities and colleges across the country.

Jim was a fiddler for the late Jimmie Skinner and performed with Bill and Birch Monroe in Bean Blossom, Ind., and at Beaver Dam. He was a composer and musical director of various shows and theaters and has numerous records and albums. Jim was owner of JIMANN Music Publishing Co. and won numerous fiddle championships.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Rubyann Cooper Gaskin and the following:
  • A brother: Dwight Wayne Gaskins of Columbia, KY

  • A special stepdaughter: Ann-Keith Osborne of Danville, KY

  • Two special grandchildren: Matthew Osborne of Frankfort, KY, and Caelin (Zach) Scott of Richmond, KY

  • One special great niece: Allison Cooper Carroll

  • He also is survived locally (Danville, KY) by: nieces Kathy Carroll and Imelda Price-Ray (Michael); a nephew, Will Ed Wise (Karen); a brother-in-law, Albert J. Cooper Jr. (Pat); sister-in-law, Shirley Cooper; a cousin, Mack Gaskins of Campbellsville; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He also is survived by two daughters, Deborah Gaskin Jones (Joseph) of Louisville and Virginia Ann Gaskin of Lexington; and five grandchildren.
Active pallbearers will be Matthew Osborne, Caelin Osborne Scott, Ben Price, Will Ed Wise, Allison Cooper Carroll, Albert Cooper Jr., Tommy Sheene, Michael Ray, Ronnie Stinnett, Jeremy Lowe and John Robinson.

Honorary pallbearers are Don and Vera Evans, the Renfro Valley Entertainers and staff, Warren Rosenthal, Bill Stevens, John Caywood, Dan Devine, Chris Calvert, Zach Scott, Dr. Don Hamner and staff, Dr. Barry Spoonamore, Dr. Thomas Baeker, Wanda McCowan, Dr. Waseem Mohammed, and the staff at WDFB AM & FM Christian radio station.

The family requests donations be sent to Gideon's International, WDFB AM & FM Christian radio and Grace Fellowship Church.

Click here for more information at the funeral home.Information
This obituary was made possible through the support of Grissom-Martin Funeral Home, established in 1926, located one block off the Square at 200 Campbellsville Street in Columbia. To reach David and Cathy Martin, phone 270-384-2149, or E-mail: Large enough to serve comfortably; Small enough to serve personally.
This obituary was made possible through the support of Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home, established in 1922, located at 210 Greensburg Street in Columbia. To reach Louis and Brenda McQueary and Richard and Mary Beth Phelps, phone 270-384-2145, or call our 24-hour community obituary information line, 384-6999. E-mail: Website URL: Friends you trust, caring for people you love.
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This story was posted on 2008-05-05 07:50:44
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Grissom-Martin Funeral Home
Located one block off the Square at 200 Campbellsville Street in Columbia, KY.
To reach David and Cathy Martin, phone (270)-384-2149, or e-mail:
Large enough to serve comfortably; Small enough to serve personally.

G & G Monuments
Todd and Mandi Green and Jared Conover
1670 Liberty Road, Columbia, KY. email:, 270-634-0359
First Quality Marble and Granite

Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home
Established 1922 | 210 Greensburg St., Columbia, KY 42728 | Jeff Jessie, Owner
270-384-2145,, email

Remembering James Marshall (Jim) Gaskin: 1937-2008

2008-05-05 - Photo Courtesy Stith Funeral Home.
JIM GASKIN a beloved Kentucky broadcaster and entertainer, a former WAIN, Columbia, KY personality and an honored graduate of Lindsey Wilson College, died Saturday, May 3, 2008, in Danville, KY. Funeral services will be Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at Stith Funeral Home, 318 West Broadway in Danville.

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