George Downs Gastfield
George Downs Gastfield, 89, passed away peacefully on October 12, 2020 after a lengthy illness. George was born on June 30, 1931 in Eustis Florida to Charles and Thelma Gastfield. He was nicknamed “Penny” by his family as a child, a name he went by with much of his family until his death. As a child he liked to ask for a penny which could buy a lot more in his depression era childhood, thus the nickname. In his early years he enjoyed the outdoors with his brothers and friends on Haines Creek and the woods near his home. He developed a love for cars as well, driving well before he legally was supposed to do so.
On December 28, 1951 George married Joan Lee Bennett shortly after he had enlisted in the Air Force. George and Joan remained faithfully married until his death almost 69 years later. In the Air Force, George was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he and Joan’s two children, Randy and Margie, were born. During his Air Force service, George became an instructor in the Supply School.
The Gastfield family returned to Florida in 1955, eventually settling in Orlando, where George began a long career based around his love of cars and interacting with people. He became a skilled buyer, appraiser, salesman, and manager. George’s son Randy worked with his dad for a number of years, and was told many times by automobile professionals that George was the best and most accurate auto appraiser they had ever known. He loved to work and it showed in his professionalism and attention to detail.
In his spare time, George loved spending time with Joan and his family. He also enjoyed wood-working, folk art, southern gospel music, the Florida Gators, and especially finding his family roots in his later years. He spent many hours in genealogy research even traveling out of state in search of his family history.
George was a born again Christian serving as a deacon in several churches, and often shared his faith with the people he and Joan met while out dining or shopping. He had a special heart for the needy, disabled, and bullied. George and Joan liked kingdom building by helping kids go to church camp. They also aided young adults that were attending bible college in any way they could.
George is survived by his wife Joan, son Randall Gastfield, daughter Margie Thompson (Dale), grandson Ryan Thompson (Trish), granddaughter Erin Thompson, grandson Garrett Gastfield, and two great grandchildren Josiah and Asher Thompson. He is also survived by his brother William Gastfield Sr. George is predeceased by his sister Sara Buie, and brother Charles Gastfield.
George will be missed greatly by his family and friends. A Celebration of Life is being planned for a future date. Burial will take place at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Mims, FL. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in George’s memory to Johnson University Florida, https://johnsonu.edu/donate/florida/