Alexander F. Gaskins, interior designer and retired musician at area churches, dies from coronavirus – Baltimore Sun

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Alexander F. Gaskins, who went from an upholsterer to an interior decorator and owner of his own business, died April 19 of COVID-19 at Sinai Hospital. The former Ashburton resident, who lived at Lochearn FutureCare, was 79.

“He was a gifted musician and he knew how to bring out the best in everyone around him,” said Rev. Dellyne I. Hinton, pastor of Gwyn Oak United Methodist Church, where Mr. Gaskins was a member. long-time active. . “Not only was he a top-notch musician, he had a knack for getting people to do things.”

Alexander Franklin Gaskins, son of Howard Gaskins, a Crown Cork & Seal Co. worker, and his wife, Sidna Gaskins, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore, one of eight siblings. His identical twin, Andrew Samuel Gaskins, retired vice president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland, died on April 3.

Mr. Gaskins grew up in Cross Keys, which at the time was primarily an African-American neighborhood that took its name from an 18th-century inn on Falls Road.

After graduating in 1958 from Frederick Douglass High School, Mr. Gaskins became an upholsterer and in the 1960s he apprenticed with John Matthews, who taught him interior design.

For years, Mr. Gaskins worked as an interior designer for Don Weber, whose Franklin Street studio, Don Weber Interiors & Antiques, was above the Tio Pepe restaurant. He eventually purchased the business from Mr. Weber and renamed it Interiors by A & A Gaskins.

In 1977, the studio’s work was featured in a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Decorators Show House fundraiser at Cedarwood, the 1927 North Charles Street Lawrence Hall Fowler house, which it designed for Alexander E. Duncan, founder of Commercial Credit Corp.

Mr. Gaskins retired in the 1990s.

A deeply religious man, Mr Gaskins joined his family’s church, Orchard Street Methodist Episcopal Church, at an early age, family members said.

An accomplished organist and pianist, he served as minister of music at First Baptist Church, Garrison Boulevard United Methodist Church, Emmanuel Community Christian Church, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, and Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church. , of which he was a member.

Mr. Gaskins was also gifted with a deep bass voice and occasionally sang with the church choir. “He was also the director of the women’s choir, the men’s choir and the senior choir,” Ms Hinton said.

“He was extremely gifted and it was a joy to hear him play,” Ms Hinton said.

Wanda R. Robinson, a 35-year-old Pikesville resident and friend, said, “He didn’t play by ear but by notes. He was strictly professional.

Among Mr Gaskins’ favorite hymns were “Lead Me, Guide Me” and the witty old “My Lord, What a Morning”, family members said. “We turned that hymn into a play and played it in area churches,” Robinson said.

She said Mr Gaskins was her “prayer partner”.

“If we were going through something, we would pray together. He had a deep relationship with God,” the Pikesville resident said.

At his church, Mr. Gaskins was chairman of the history committee. He chaired the reunion committee twice and was a member of the comfort committee.

“He was such a dedicated member of our church, and even though he left town and went to live with his daughter, he returned frequently as much as he could to attend meetings for as long as his health permitted. . He was so dedicated,” Ms Hinton said.

“He’s such a positive person and he never said a negative word about anyone,” she said. “He was just a very, very nice man. He was well-liked in church and was just a darling.

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“He was a pillar of the community and he transported friends or anyone where they wanted or needed to go, on vacation, to the doctor if they were sick or even to New York”, his daughter, Anita Michline Kelly of Silver Spring, wrote in a biographical profile of her father.

The former Egerton Road resident collected mirrors, his daughter said. “He was not a great reader or a gardener. He just loved his church.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by one son, Aaron Mark Gaskins of Catonsville; one brother, Thomas Gaskins of Nottingham; four sisters, Ann Carter, Brenda Williams and Pamela DeLoatch, all of Baltimore, and Colleen Cary of West Deptford, New Jersey; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. His marriage to the former Miriam Smith ended in divorce.

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