Deceased July 15, 2011

View alumni profile (log in required)

In Memory

The ranks of members of the Class of 1940 were unhappily further thinned by the death of Ben Gaskell on July 15, 2011, in Roswell, Ga. He had moved thence at the end of his long, active life as a minister.

The Rev. Benton Searle Gaskell, Ph.D., his final full title, was a native of Worcester, Mass., the son of Walter and Mabel Gaskell.

At Amherst he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity and became active on the staff of the Olio, of which he became assistant business manager. He was also a member of Touchstone.

Ben’s degrees were: bachelor of divinity from Hartford Seminary, 1944; B.A., Amherst, 1946; and honorary doctorate of divinity, from the Pacific School of Religion, 1954.

Ordained as a Congregational minister, his first church was in Coventry, Conn. World War II intervening, he served in the U.S. Navy as chaplain of the hospital ship Haven until 1946.

His pastorates took him to a wide range of communities across the country. These included San Mateo, Calif.; Detroit; Belvedere Tiburon, Calif.; and Pomona, Calif. He also served as an interim minister in Alaska and on Mackinac Island, Mich., before retiring, first to Palm Springs, Calif., and then to Roswell, Ga., in 2005.

Ben’s survivors include his daughter Deborah, a stepson, two grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and three great-grandsons.

—Louis P. Dolbeare ’40





Passed away July 15, 2011 at his home in Roswell, GA. He was born Nov 23, 1918 in Worchester, MA to Walter and Mabel Gaskell. He earned his B.A. from Amherst College in 1946, a B.D. from Hartford Seminary in 1944 and an honorary doctorate of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 1954. Benton was ordained as a congregational minister on May 30, 1943. He first served as minister in Coventry, Connecticut; then served as U.S. Navy Chaplain during World War II serving on the hospital ship Haven until 1946. After the war, he served the Congregational Church of San Mateo from 1946 to 1956, the Bushnell Church of Detroit, MI until 1960 and established the Community Congregational Church of Belvedere-Tiburon CA. He joined the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Pomona, CA as an associate minister in 1968 and was elected minister in January 1970 and served for 11 years until he retired in 1981. He then served as an interim minister in Alaska, and on Mackinac Island, MI. He retired to Palm Springs and then moved to Roswell GA in 2005. He is survived by his daughter, Deborah Gaskell Albert; her two sons, Sean and Casey Braden; his stepson, David McGraw; his three children, Sarah, David and Daniel; and three great grandsons.