Cover photo for Gertrude L. Gaskins's Obituary
Gertrude L. Gaskins Profile Photo
1935 Gertrude 2023

Gertrude L. Gaskins

November 16, 1935 — October 28, 2023


Gertrude L. Gaskins (née Toppin) 87, of Harrisburg, passed away in her home on October 28, 2023. "Trudy," as she was affectionately known, was born on November 16, 1935, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She was the daughter of the late Albert Toppin and Kathleen Toppin (née Wallace). She attended Antioch University, graduating in 1979 with a Master's Degree in Counseling.


Trudy would go on to lead the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of the Capital Region as Executive Director for 28 years, retiring in 1999. During her tenure at R.S.V.P., Trudy was consistently recognized for her exceptional work in her field. It was not uncommon, for instance, to open a newspaper during the 1980s and find her alongside Pennsylvania governors, state and U.S. congressmen, and eventually, in 2016, in a photo with the current president, Joe Biden. Mom didn't actively seek these encounters; instead, these politicians sought her out for her wisdom, knowledge of the aging U.S. population, and her unwavering drive to improve the lives of others.


Trudy was a dedicated member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Harrisburg, where she faithfully served on the Vestry and Altar Guild.  She was a member of the Episcopal Church Women’s group and The Taste of Jazz organizing committee. Trudy was also involved with a sewing guild.  Trudy was much loved and respected by the congregation of St Paul’s for her spirit of uplifting everyone she came in touch with both young and old. She was a giver in every sense of the word.  She cherished the talented individuals at St. Paul's and often spoke about her appreciation for the intelligence and diversity of thought and opinion within her church.


Trudy was also known for her immaculate home. Her house was always impeccably organized, regardless of the season. Many of her friends will undoubtedly remember Trudy's commitment to maintaining order, which she brought to everything she did.  Trudy also loved books.  Lots and lots of books which she would read, store, read again, and when she could, give away to friends and family.  In fact, there aren’t too many people who interacted with Trudy who didn’t either leave with a plate of food or some gadget or another that she had purchased.  Hers was a giving heart.


Trudy is survived by her son, William, and his wife, Andrea, of Harrisburg, PA; her grandchildren: Ashley Wilburn (née Gaskins) and her husband, Kalvin, of Oahu, Hawaii; Bradley Gaskins of Fresno, CA; Evan Gaskins of Norfolk, VA; Anthony Gaskins, of Cleveland, Ohio; Justin Brock and his wife, Courtney, of Caldwell, NJ; and her great-grandchildren: Eli, Kyla, Austin, Justin, Sienna, and Mia. She is also survived by her siblings: Edward Toppin of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and Sarah Thomas (née Toppin) and her husband, Billy, of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Trudy was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Bill; her son, Anthony F. Gaskins; as well as two siblings: Pearline Smith (née Toppin) of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Florence Harper (née Toppin) of Tampa, Florida. Trudy is also survived by many nieces and nephews, along with their children.



Memorial services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 248 Seneca Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110 on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 11 am. Memorial contributions for an annual youth-centered summer camp may be made to St. Barnabas Center for Ministry, 248 Seneca Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, November 18, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Paul Episcopal Church

248 Seneca St,, Harrisburg, PA 17110

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