GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - U.S. Marine Corps veteran Bob Gasche was known for his pure heart and love for his country.
“Bob was just an extraordinary person,” said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Cary Hill. “We never met a stranger, and I think he made friends with everybody he met.”
Gasche served in Iwo Jima, where he earned a Purple Heart.
Decades later, he met two other marines who had also served in the battle - Clif Cormier and Clair Chaffin.
In 2008, they formed the Iwo Trio.
Chaffin was killed a year later in an armed robbery in South Carolina, but Gasche and Cormier kept the trio going and set up a scholarship fund to support young marines.
"We would have meetings through the last 17 years. Bob was involved 17 years, and we would meet monthly or weekly, whatever we needed to to discuss the Young Marines and their activities,” said Gasche’s friend Jamie Hill.
In 2017, Cormier passed away too, and Gasche continued the Iwo Trio and scholarship fund with the help of other veterans.
"So today's meeting was in his honor. We called it the Iwo Trio last call,” said Jamie Hill.
Bob Gasche died on July 30, but his memory will live on with his friends, family, and all the people whose lives he touched.
"He was patriotic, he was concerned for his community and his fellow man,” said U.S. Army veteran Jim Lynch. “Just if anyone could be half the man that he was, we'd have a great society.”
There will be a viewing at Faith Presbyterian Church in Gainesville on Friday, August 9 from 6-8 p.m., followed by a memorial service on Saturday, August 10 at 1 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church. Anyone is welcome to attend.