Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wilbur & Jo Ko

While perusing old newspapers I came across this article from August 2, 1974 in the Carolina Beachcomber:

"This cover is a new print offered by Jo Ko, resident artist at Ocracoke, and the subject is alive and well at Corkey's Grocery. Wilbur Gaskill is his name and his mother is the oldest woman living on Ocracoke Island.

"Wilbur exclaimed, "I love it here!" He agreed to pose for picture-taking at Silver Lake Harbor, the setting for many of Jo Ko's popular drawings.

"As we were getting things set up for photographs, a couple of Wilbur's friends walked by and observed, 'You just whittle anywhere, don't you Wilbur.'

'Wilbur has a bucket full of knives and is constantly buying new ones. 'It doesn't take long to wear one out carving as many birds as I do. I can't keep up with the customers. I carve seven or eight different kinds: Canadian goose, pelican, seagull, black skimmer, mallard, pintail and oyster catcher,' Wilbur said."

Joe ("Jo Ko") & Esther Koch, 1974

Wilbur Gaskill, 1974

Wilbur was 68 years old when he died in 1980. Jo Ko died in March of 2012, just short of his 105th birthday.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here:  

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