Alfie Grant

Childhood friend of Tiffany

I have a fond memory of being at your grandparents’ house and your grandfather giving me my very first taste of muscadine wine.  If my memory serves me well, I believe your grandfather made the wine and I remember tasting it and thinking “this is amazing”.  Your grandfather only gave me a taste but that memory sticks with me as well as the fact that it was clearly evident that he loves you with all of his heart.  He always looks at you with love, adoration, and pride and I just love seeing the bond between the two of you.

Dr Sharon Gaston

Cousin but more like a niece

I have known Uncle Bill all of my life and couldn't get enough of him when my family came to Memphis every summer to visit him and Aunt Effie.  My parents, Jean and James Gaston, are the ones who introduced Uncle Bill and Aunt Effie to one another which resulted in their matrimony.  Uncle Bill and Aunt Effie always had a posh home where they gladly welcomed visits from relatives and friends and we were frequent visitors wherever they were living.  I remember how they both would make sure that we were well fed and comfortable in their home.  They both loved to cook and host card parties where it was for certain you would get to hear an argument between Uncle Bill and Aunt Effie that would end as quickly as it began.  My sister Raychelle and I used to sit there and look from Uncle Bill's mouth to Aunt Effie's mouth because we just loved everything about them.  Even when they would argue.  They truly did love each other and were the perfect pair.

 

Uncle Bill figured himself a gourmet cook and was always up cooking something yummy to eat and making sure that the grown ups had a glass full of whatever their favorite "Adult-Beverages" were.  We kids could have plenty of soda, ice cream or whatever good treat we wanted to indulge ourselves.  My sister, Raychelle, used to eat up all of their maraschino cherries that were for their drinks.  Uncle Bill nor Aunt Effie ever complained. They'd say, "Eat what you want, baby." The first time I ever had smoked oysters were because my Uncle Bill said, "Sharon.  Come here. Try this, girl." He stuck and oyster sitting on a saltine cracker in my mouth and I have been hooked on them ever since.  Every time I eat smoked oysters from a can, I think of Uncle Bill.  No joke.

 

I remember Uncle Bill always had a twinkle in his eyes like a mischievous little boy. He had a way of looking around the room with a slight grin on his face and would then say something off-colored that would make you crack your side laughing.   If he wasn't spewing his knowledge about the many things he knew about, because he was extremely intelligent, he surely would be telling some kind of risqué joke that was hilarious.  He was irreverent and I loved him for that.  He was unapologetically himself. 

 

Uncle Bill, Aunt Effie and Little Tiffany surprised me in 1990 when they came down to Pensacola to celebrate my graduation from the University of West Florida.  After the festivities had calmed down, Uncle Bill called me over and gave me a generous check, hugged me and told me how proud he was of me.

  

The last time I saw my Uncle Bill was so frightening to me.  It was the summer of 2019. My husband Rich and mother, Jean, came through Augusta to visit Uncle Bill and Renee on our way to Pensacola. I was always used to seeing the stalwart, herculean, tall, tough talking, strong-minded Uncle Bill.  Sadly, he had been experiencing cognitive and physical decline since I had last seen him in 2013. It is jolting when you are used to seeing your loved one as they were in the past.  I do remember he still had his wits enough about him to school me on how Trump is ruining the country and to tell a few of his crude jokes that I always loved to hear.  He still had that twinkle in his eyes and that slight grin.

 

I truly did and do love my Uncle Bill.  I have never known anyone like him and feel so blessed to have had him in my life.

 

God bless Renee, Tiffany and Ashley on the loss of this remarkable human being.

Jean Gaston

Cousin

I met Bill in 1965 when I was pregnant with my second daughter, Sharon.  My husband James brought Bill home with him after a basketball game they had played.  They were both in the navy stationed in Memphis and were players for the Navy-Memphis Basketball Team.  Bill spent the night with us and the next morning after breakfast, I told James to take Bill to meet my cute cousin Effie who lived down the street.  Effie and Bill didn’t get along at all when the first met but things soon smoothed out and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”

 

We have always been very close with Bill and Effie.  I was like Effie’s little sister and Bill was like my big brother who was always so kind to me.  He and my husband James were very close buddies too.  He always referred to him as Gaston.

 

James and I used to go to Bill and Effie’s house every Friday night for a game of pinochle. We would take our daughters, Raychelle and Sharon with us.  Some of our other relatives would be there with their children and it would be like a small family reunion.  Bill was always the boss of the games.  He had to be in charge.  He had a side to him that could be very serious and stern, but he was a very kind hearted and loving person with a playful demeanor who loved his family.

 

When we moved to Florida, Bill and Effie came down to visit and brought Renee to spend the summer with us.  We were all so close and had a fantastic visit.   

 

On our trips back to Memphis to visit my daddy, we would always find time to spend a night or two with Bill, Effie and Renee.  Bill and Effie always showed us a good time.  They loved having us over and would cook good food and loved to feed you. Bill is the one who made me fall in love with ribeye steaks.  He could cook those just right.

 

Bill was such a comfort to me and the family when we lost my oldest daughter Raychelle in 2013 to a car accident. I remember Bill cried almost as much as I had at her funeral. 

 

I can’t say enough how Bill was such a good-natured, kind hearted, loving person.  I dearly loved him like he was my brother and will hold precious memories of him in my heart forever.  Rest in Peace, Bill.