Donna Jean Gaskin

Published 11:25 pm Sunday, July 2, 2023

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SALUDA—Donna Jean Gaskin, also known as DJ Gaskin, age 67, of Saluda, NC, died of pancreatic cancer on June 30, 2023.

DJ was born in Fort Chaffee, AR, grew up in Fresno, CA, and worked 25 years as a Corporate Communications Professional for Lockheed Martin in the Washington, D.C., area. Once retired, she purposefully moved to art-filled Saluda, NC, in 2017. Ms. Gaskin described herself as authentically happily retired and a full-time artist, workshop leader, poet/writer/author, bookbinder, nature lover, and lover of life.  

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DJ has been creating art since her childhood. In recent years, she regarded art as an escape, particularly from her cancer, saying, “I get so focused on a project, working through design and construction challenges, my head has no room for anything else.” Her mediums included acrylic and watercolor painting, mixed-media collage, assemblage, and book art  Her art has been exhibited in the Washington D.C. area, in western North Carolina, and online.

In addition to her art, Saluda inspired DJ to produce notable poems, some of which have been published in literary journals. In June 2018, she released Of Crows and Superstitions, a book of her poetry. Throughout the years, she also published several freelance articles and fiction.

As a life-long learner, DJ demonstrated an ongoing willingness to experiment in her art and writing. And her adventurous nature meant that she was an intrepid explorer of artistic and emotional expression, ideas, music, words, and nature. She also relished solo travel to places previously unvisited. Her love of nature was a significant influence on her art and her writing.

DJ received a B.A. in Business Administration and Management and did graduate work in General Writing and Creative Writing.

DJ is predeceased by her parents, Hubert W. Gaskin and Verna M. Gaskin. She is survived by sister Debra Lynn Jacobs (Gabriel) of Smyrna, TN, and three brothers, Robert Gaskin of Atlanta, GA; Richard Gaskin of Los Angeles, CA; Michael Gaskin (Michelle) of Fresno, CA, nine nephews and nieces; and eight great-nephews and nieces. In lieu of flowers, donations honoring DJ may be made to, a women’s and children’s shelter.