Cover photo for Richie Gaskill's Obituary
1971 Richie 2017

Richie Gaskill

November 23, 1971 — July 5, 2017

Richard M. Gaskill IV, better known as Richie, 45, husband of Kelley Drummond Gaskill, and a resident of Jamesville, VA, passed away Wednesday, July 5, 2017, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Onancock, VA. A native of Jamesville, he was the son of Richard M. Gaskill III and his wife, Cindie, of Painter, VA, and Paulette Doughty MacPartland and her husband, David, of Exmore, VA. He was a heavy equipment operator and co-founder of Big's Place - the Gaskill Family Restaurant.

In addition to his loving wife and parents, he is survived by two children, Rachael D. Testerman and her husband, Rob, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, and Joshua E. Drummond and his wife, Brandi, of Exmore; two brothers, David Drummond and his wife, Sandy, of Belle Haven, VA, and Earl Drummond and his wife, Beverly, of Pungoteague, VA; maternal grandmother, Pauline Coates Doughty of Exmore; paternal grandmother, Barbara Killmon Gaskill of Jamesville; two uncles, Steve Gaskill and his wife, Linda, of Pungoteague and Mel Doughty and his wife, Janice, of Cary, NC; an aunt, Ann D. Tyndall of Vero Beach, FL; and five grandchildren, Dylan Testerman, William Jones, Mason Drummond, Jase Drummond and Ashton Drummond. He was predeceased by his maternal grandfather, Tuck Doughty, and his paternal grandfather, Richard M. Gaskill, Jr.

A celebration of life service will be conducted Saturday, July 8, 2017, at 4:00 PM, at Doughty Funeral Home. Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to a charity of one's choice.

We are gathered today to celebrate the life of a son, grandson, nephew, cousin, brother, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, friend. He was known by many names: Richie, Spoony, Cuz, Bro, Rich, Buddy, Pal, Dad, Leader of the Kitchen Pirates, Itchie, Brother, Granddad, Darlin', DadDad, my beginning and my end, my first and last, my soulmate, my everything.

Richie Gaskill touched the hearts of everyone here and beyond. Within each of us, he planted a seed. Today we shower that seed with our liquid love and watch as the seeds takes root.

Richie was blessed with a strong family and foundation of faith upon which he built his life. A family in which every generation was equally important, as each had lessons to impart. He believed in truth, justice and fairness; had a strong work ethic and a fierce love for his family. Through the years, divorces and remarriages did not diminish the Gaskill family but, rather, simply made it larger and stronger. There are no step- anythings as far as Richie was concerned. Family is family. We used to jokingly refer to our brood as the "in-laws and outlaws."

Although he did not want anyone to know it, he had a heart of gold. I don't know who he thought he was fooling, because everyone who met him could clearly see that. The driving force behind everything he did was love.â He spoke with love, his actions were filled with love, his intentions were nothing short of pure, unadulterated love. But it was quiet love. He did not want any attention or payback for his love.

Love is a sometimes an ambiguous word. What is love? Probably the most well-known Bible verse describes it best. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4â�"8a (New International Version) But what does all that mean exactly?

Since Richie's and my greatest adventure was in the restaurant industry, I'll break it down into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to swallow:
Love Is Patient
This kind of love bears with offenses and is slow to repay or punish those who offend us. But, it does not mean indifference, which would ignore an offense.
Love Is Kind
Kindness is similar to patienceâ but refers to how we treat others. This kind of love may take the form of a gentle rebuke when careful discipline is needed.
Love Does Not Envy
This kind of love appreciates and rejoices when others are blessed with good things and does not allow jealousy and resentment to take root.
Love Does Not Boast
The word "boast" here means "bragging." This kind of love does not exalt itself over others. It recognizes that our achievements are not based on our own abilities or worthiness.
Love Is Not Proud
This love is not overly self-confident or insubordinate to God and others. It is not characterized by a sense of self-importance or arrogance.
Love Is Not Rude
This kind of love cares about others, their customs, likes and dislikes. It respects the concerns of others even when they are different from our own.
Love Is Not Self-Seeking
This kind of love puts the good of others before our own good. It places God first in our lives, above our own ambitions.
Love Is Not Easily Angered
Like the characteristic of patience, this kind of love does not rush toward anger when others do wrong.
Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
This kind of love offers forgiveness, even when offenses are repeated many times.
Love Does Not Delight in Evil But Rejoices With the Truth
This kind of love seeks to avoid involvement in evil and help others steer clear of evil, too. It rejoices when loved ones live according to truth.
Love Always Protects
This kind of love will always expose the sin of others in a safe way that won't bring harm, shame or damagemage, but will restore and protect.
Love Always Trusts
This love gives others the benefit of the doubt, trusting in their good intentions.
Love Always Hopes
This kind of love hopes for the best where others are concerned, knowing God is faithful to complete the work he started in us. This hope encourages others to press forward in the faith.
Love Always Perseveres
This kind of love endures even through the most difficult trials.
Love Never Fails
This kind of love goes beyond the boundaries of ordinary love. It is eternal, divine, and will never cease.

Richie was the most noble man I know. I used to call him my knight in shining armour. He did not realize it, but he was the living example of one of my favorite poems by Rudyard Kipling entitled "If":

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Richie was the type of person who treated the janitor with the same respect and dignity as he would the person in the highest elected office. He saw no color, he saw no financial status, he saw only love and the potential in everyone he encountered.â Sometimes, while we were shopping locally or abroad, we would be approached by a stranger asking for help. Before the person could finish their request, Richie was already reaching into his pocket to give what he could. It did not matter if we had fifty dollars or fifty cents at the time. He was going to help as much as he could and never expect anything in return. Of course he knew some of the people who approached were shysters. But he always said, "I don't walk in his shoes, I do not know what brought him to me. But he is asking for my help and I'm damned sure going to give it!"

Growing up in The Trawler Restaurant, his love of cooking took hold. I think he also saw how wonderful it was to have the family all together doing what they did. He loved almost every aspect of growing up in the restaurant except, perhaps, for getting busted trying sneaking alcohol! As with everything in his life, the consequences of his actions proved a valuable lesson which became part of the life lessons he imparted to Rachael and Josh.
Richie was driven and passionate about his work, taking pride in every job whether it was working on the docks with Big Richard, Tim, Doug, Grandmom and the crew, long distance driving for Big Richard, working with Charlie and Bill at T-F Grain, running fire calls with Tasley Volunteer Fire Department, creating a meal at Big's Place for customers, paving a road with Major Excavation... everything he did, he did with pride...and love.

Of course there were mistakes. We are all human. There is a running joke about one such "mistake" at the restaurant. Bill and Tina LeCato were regular customers along with their daughter, Ally. Her favorite item at the time was Richie's grilled cheese sandwich. One evening, when they were in for dinner, Richie accidentally made Ally's grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese. We laughed about it a he happily made another. The new sandwich arrived at the table and, soon after, the waitress was called back to the table: Richie had forgotten the cheese--- AGAIN! It is a story he never lived down and has become part of our Big's Place lore. Just like his uncontrollable impulse to snap those tongs - snap snap snap- every time he picked them up.

He often said to me that he did not "do" babies. Thankfully, he'd joke, Rachael and Josh were "just" old enough to get around that rule. I actually believed him until our grandchildren were born into this world, one by one. From the very first moment, holding each of his grandchildren, he became a total marshmallow. Finally, I had to ask because the dichotomy was killing me. "Why did you say you don't 'do' babies when you are clearly a natural at this? All anyone has to do is look at your face and they can see exactly how much you love these babies and how important they are to you?" His answer was, "This is different. They are MY grandbabies!"

Ironically, Richie did want a baby. He wished for and dreamed about that baby for many years. I was the first person he ever told about this wish and desire. And, in 2009, only through the dedication, hard work, financial support and guiding hands of the Gaskill family, that baby was born. Richie named his baby "Big's Place - The Gaskill Family Restaurant" in honor of his grandfather who most people just called Big. He credited Big Richard with so many valuable and unforgettable lessons. Though he could recount the stories with a laugh, you could always feel the seriousness of the situation when it occurred.

His admiration did not stop at Big Richard. He held each and every one of his family members in high regard. He would proudly tell me tales of Rockin' Rick and Fish Hawk- the best damn fishermen alive who just happened to be his father and uncle Steve. He'd get choked up talking about his grandmothers and their nurturing. He beamed when he told me about some of the most challenging times growing up when he and his mom, Paulette, did not have much. He would almost glow with pride as he told me how she did everything in her power to protect and provide for her son. His cousins were more like siblings, his friends more like family.

Richie looked up to Big and emulated him in many ways. Any one of Richie's "kitchen pirates" at the restaurant could tell you how they knew he was losing his patience. The wings would come out of the hangar! To the layman, that meant his hands were on his hips, firmly. The more frustrated he got, the higher up his hips and waist those hands would go! We used to kid that if he went any further, his hands would be in his armpits and he'd be ready for flight.â But the frustrations never lasted long. They were always handled directly and immediately, followed by reassuring words of love toward the person who was causing him the frustration.

Richie had a wonderful sense of humor and, throughout our seventeen years together, I had the joy of watching it blossom. He would often indulge in singing and spontaneously rewording a song as we were listening to on the radio or wherever.â Our latest ritual - and we were talking about this recently and cannot remember HOW it began - is to listen to Man Of Constant Sorrow and rewording the song to fit the moment. Not singing in despair, but silliness. We might sing about how Diesel needed a new toy or how we didn't have any more sugar for that next cup of coffee.â He took all the mountains and reduced them to molehills.

We had one employee, Kyle Fitchett, whom we could not fool, trick or otherwise induct into the kitchen pirate clan. He was just too smart. He knew we were trying to pull one over on us. Well, one Saturday night near the end of dinner rush, Richie was preparing a flounder dinner and the fillet broke. Everyone knew he wanted everything that left his watch to go to customers to be perfect. Without a moment's hesitation, he instructed Kyle to go get the filet glue. Kyle dutifully went to the storage room where Richie indicated it would be on the shelf. Kyle returned, upset because he could not find the filet glue. The kitchen pirates sent Kyle to me at the front of the restaurant to inquire where I had put it.

Feeling the pressure to get this dinner cooking, Kyle came up front to inquire where the filet glue was. I had absolutely no clue what he was talking about but, as I peered down the length of the restaurant to the door of the kitchen, I saw all the pirates looking back at me giggling. Again, without hesitation, I told him it was on the shelf in the blue room (the same place Richie had just sent him.) Finally, and at very long last, Kyle returned to the kitchen deflated and defeated because he COULD NOT find the filet glue! It was at this point everyone busted out laughing and congratulated Kyle, indicating he had just been inducted into the elite club known as the Big's Kitchen Pirates.â This was classic Richie at his best.

In 2009, Richie had his first heart attack. In 2015, he had his second- and it was a massive heart attack. Realistically and statistically, he should not have survived the second heart attack. Physically, he had to begin with 24% heart function. Spiritually, he was operating on 1000% heart function. It made us all realize how short our time is. It made us thankful for the second change. Every single person around Richie was impacted not only by the walking miracle he was but by the enormous amount of love he showed. Our friends, Rick and Christi Medice, threw him a Celebration of Life party at Silver Beach complete with our releasing a lantern filled with our hopes, dreams and wishes for happiness.

The past two years and mounting medical bills plummeted us into an abyss of debt, in which we were slowly sinking. Clawing at the sides of the hole, trying to dig ourselves out, Richie was simultaneously trying to support my dealing with a deep depression. No one outside of our family would see that side of me, I was too proud to show it. I was in the pit of depression, but felt I was stronger than most. I could stay in my pit in order to lift others out of theirs, even if it was just for a quick grasp of breath. So I did what I always do-- lift others up, give others hope. But secretly, some of those Morning Gold messages were just as much encouragement for me as they were for my listeners on WESR.

Slowly, agonizingly, we descended to the depths and lost our house and almost all of our possessions. I never spoke a word to Richie about it and, he respectfully never asked what was going on. He let me handle it- or mishandle it- in my own way. The day before he died, I laid it all out for him- how I felt, every detail of what happened in that journey. And he imparted some classic Richie wisdom. "The world would say we failed. The world would say it was the worst year of our lives. But that is not how we saw it. Richie and I both knew we still had what was most important- each other and our steadfast love, our famly, our firm foundation of faith and our circle of friends. The world be damned!"

We learned in those two years what is truly important in this brief life we are given. The truth is, the past two years were the happiest of our lives! We lived with no regrets. We expressed to each other and anyone else just what we needed to tell them. We did not wait for 'the right moment.' Heck, we didn't wait at all. We took every opportunity to tell each other how much we loved each other. It used to be one of the things was leaving love notes around the house for the other person to find. Then, it turned into text love notes. Ten, sometimes fifteen in a day. But each one was genuine, from the heart and powerful!â Richie said recently, "You know, each time I tell you how much I love you, I mean it from the depths of my soul." He was afraid I'd think he was just doing it by rote, it was an empty habit. But, on the contrary, I could feel the depths of his love in every word.

Richie and I moved to his ancestral home, his Granny's house, where he grew up and had 45 years of memories. He knew the time was coming, I think, â and he wanted to make sure I had a roof over my head. When our twin grandbabies came, we knew we would have to find a suitable vehicle. We juggled paychecks for months so, when the time came, we would have access to money to buy a used vehicle. As it turned out, his mother got a new vehicle and was selling her minivan. We were able to purchase it a couple of weeks before Richie died. The day he took care of title and insurance, he said with a smile, "Oh, and I got renter's insurance. You know, just in case." In all things, he made sure I was and would be taken care of for the rest of my days.

It's really weird how things work. Richie and I, in the past two years but especially a lot recently, had been talking about this time we are gathered for today. We talked openly and without fear, without sadness. We expressed to each other exactly what we wanted, how we wanted it done. Richie was very adamant about a few things, like me being here today speaking to you. I often times expressed doubt that I could do his ceremony. His reply was always the same, "I have faith in you, babe. No one can tell my story like you."â I had no idea that the day after one of these conversations, I'd be put to the test.

Richie was not only the love of my life, he was my best friend first. One of my favorite authors, Khalil Gibran, wrote a book called The Prophet. I got my first copy when I was in my twenties. Gibran writes of love in such eloquent terms that you want to plunge headfirst into his pool of words and swim in it.â But he also wrote of friendship.â I had lost my copy of the book in our recent, abrupt transition and was heartbroken over it. Yesterday, without any knowledge of my feelings of loss over that book, our daughter Rachael gave me her copy. It was one of hundreds of divine moments which have occurred since July 5th.â I asked Richie's spirit to help me find just the right passage, opened the book randomly, and this is what it said:

"And a youth said,
- Speak to us of Friendship!
â And he answered, saying:
â Your friend is your needs answered.
â He is your field which you sow with love
and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
â For you come to him with your hunger,
and you seek him for peace.
â When your friend speaks his mind you fear
not the "nay" in your own mind,
nor do you withhold the "ay".
â And when he is silent your heart ceases
not to listen to his heart;
â For without words, in friendship, all thoughts,
all desires, all expectations are born and shared,
with joy that is unacclaimed.
â When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
â For that which you love most
in him may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.
â And let there be no purpose in friendship
save the deepening of the spirit.
â For love that seeks aught but the disclosure
of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth:
and only the unprofitable is caught.
â And let your best be for your friend
that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
â For it is his to fill your need,
but not your emptiness.
â And in the sweetness of friendship
let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
â For in the dew of little things
the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

When our daughter-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, Richie decided he was going to shave his head in support and solidarity. Brandi put her foot down and absolutely insisted that Richie NOT do that. So he did his own thing: he grew his hair long enough to donate it to Locks For Love. Unfortunately, Richie left us before he was able to give that gift.â Richie did, however, â choose to be an organ donor. I was informed after the procedure that they were able to harvest long bone, a very specialized and much needed aid for babies who cannot grow arms or legs, people with cancer and so many more. Richie just may have more babies than he realized in the future. But they will be HIS babies. So, even in death, Richie still gave life. This man was not a victim, he was a hero!

Richie did not want a lot of tears today, but he did want the sharing of stories and laughter. He did want to encourage everyone to not wait to say what you need to say. He wanted to encourage everyone to act with love. True love as described in Corinthians. Richie loved many things. But, most of all, he loved each and every person he encountered. All of you here for the service, all of you reading this who could not be here, he loved each and every one of you.

Something else he loved, was to hear his cousin Sherry Gaskill Belote and her husband, Pat, sing and perform. In his mind, there was no comparison in this world to Sherry's powerful voice and presentation of everything she poured her heart into. It was one of his deepest wishes that we all have that experience. Patrick created a tribute video and used the song they performed at the service. You can follow the link here:

Richie understood that saying "I love you" might not be so easy for some. (And, let me tell you, that man had a million ways of showing his love without ever uttering a word.) So, here is a suggestion from our most recent off-the-wall television show bingeâ "Alaskan Bush People." Richie and I used to jokingly get into arguments- I love you... I love you more... I love you morer.. I love you morest! On the show, there is a custom where, upon family members heading out into the unknown of the Alaskan territory, they simply say, "more." What you say is not nearly as important as your taking the opportunity to say what you need to say. Do it. Honor Richie every time you do!

In closing, I would like to add one last shower of liquid love falling from our eyes to the seeds Richie has planted in God's garden. We end where we began, in 1 Corinthians, 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements were made by Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore, Virginia.

Celebration of Life Service

Doughty Funeral Home
  • Email Details
  • 3117 Main Street
    Exmore, VA 23350
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