Sidna J. Gaskins, 94, city school crossing guard

February 08, 2005

Sidna J. Gaskins, a retired school crossing guard, died of complications from a stroke Thursday at Ridgeway Manor Nursing Home. The Ashburton resident was 94.

Born Sidna Elizabeth Pamilla Jones, she was raised in the 4600 block of Falls Road, then a historically black neighborhood known as Cross Keys. She was a 1927 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School.

In 1935, she married Howard Gaskins, a chauffeur and Crown Cork & Seal laborer. He died in 1980.

To help support a growing family, Mrs. Gaskins took in laundry and helped her children sell snowballs and candy applies on her front porch.

In 1954, Mrs. Gaskins was among 25 women hired by the city Police Department as crossing guards. She was assigned to Public School No. 158 and then Medfield Heights Elementary School. She retired in 1973.

Mrs. Gaskins had been a volunteer for the N.M. Carroll Home for the Aged. She had been a member of several churches and at her death was a member of Orchard Park Christian Jubilee United Methodist Church. She had played the piano and organ for Orchard Street, Shiloh, Falls Road and Oak Street African Methodist Episcopal churches.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 3400 Garrison Blvd.

Survivors include four sons, Howard Gaskins Jr., Alexander Gaskins and Andrew Gaskins, all of Baltimore, and Thomas Gaskins of Perry Hall; four daughters, Colleen Cary of West Deptford, N.J., Ann Carter of Woodstock, and Pamela DeLoatch and Brenda Williams, both of Baltimore; 24 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson. An 18-month-old daughter, Amanda, died in the 1950s.

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