James H. Casterton

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 5:22 pm

James H. Casterton, 85, of Decorah, died Wednesday morning, Jan. 11, 2017, at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church in rural Spring Grove, Minn., with Rev. Allen Hermeier officiating. Burial is in Highland Lutheran Cemetery in rural Decorah, with full military honors by American Legion Post 299 of Mabel, Minn., VFW Post 1977 of Decorah and U.S. Air Force personnel. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., one hour before the service, at Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.

James Henry (Jim) Casterton was born March 26, 1931, on a farm three miles north of Highlandville. He was the son of Josiah and Augusta (Busness) Casterton. He was baptized and confirmed at Highland Lutheran Church and graduated from Decorah High School in 1949. From 1949 until 1953, he served in the United States Air Force and was stationed in the Philippine Islands. Jim graduated from Luther College in 1957, and taught high school social studies in Waukon and Decorah. He was united in marriage to Shirley Ann Thompson at Ridgeway Lutheran Church in Ridgeway June 25, 1961. Jim obtained a master’s degree and an education specialist degree from Drake University. Upon graduation from Drake, he served as high school principal in Wellsburg. From 1964 until 1976, he served the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock School District in Rockford, first as high school principal and then as superintendent of schools. In 1976, he was hired as the assistant administrator of the Area V Education Agency in Fort Dodge. From 1978 until his retirement in 1993, Jim served as superintendent of schools for the Mabel-Canton School District in Mabel, Minn. He also was the superintendent of the Harmony Area School District in Harmony, Minn. from 1989 until 1992. Jim was a hard worker who held many jobs: farmer, waiter, truck driver, gas station attendant, singer, school bus driver, teacher, director of the Decorah Kilties, airman, realtor, high school principal and school superintendent. He had a “can do” attitude and an unassuming nature. He positively influenced hundreds of young people and was especially sensitive to students who needed a pat on the back or words of encouragement. Most importantly, Jim was a loving and devoted husband, dad and grandpa. We greatly benefitted from the sharing of his knowledge and wisdom. Jim was a member of the Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church, American Legion Post 299 of Mabel, Minn., and VFW Post 1977 of Decorah.

Jim is survived by his wife, Shirley, of Decorah; his children: James (Patti) Casterton of Balsam Lake, Wis.; Stephanie (Jim) Rollins of Mount Horeb, Wis.; John Casterton of Milltown, Wis.; and Joel (Lori) Casterton of Shanghai, China; and grandchildren: Josiah and Noah Casterton; Julia, Grace, John and Lily Rollins; Drew and Will Casterton; brother Bernard (Martha) Casterton; sister Belva Fadness; brother-in-law, Leonard Olson; sister-in-law, Sherry (Don) McDowell; and many nephews, nieces, neighbors, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Josiah and Augusta Casterton; by his father- and mother-in-law, Richard and Lillie Mae Thompson; brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Ethel Casterton; by his sisters and brothers-in-law, Edna and Alvin Swenson; Palma and Orville Wermager; Myrtle and Melvin Noecker; sister, June Olson; brother in law, Harold Fadness, and brother James.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Highland Lutheran Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund, 3824 Highlandville Road, Decorah, IA 52101; Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice, 901 Montgomery Street, Decorah, IA 52101; or Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church, 169 Dorchester Ave., Spring Grove, MN 55974.

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