FROM THE PAST!
St. Patrick's Day was Mr. Casey's favorite holiday, so we
honor him, our class sponsor, with a remembrance from his
Joseph Raymond Casey was raised in Urbana, Ohio. Amid humble
surroundings and hard working parents, he and his two
brothers and sister (may all four rest in peace), thrived
and adopted the Midwestern ethic of humility and kindness to
fellow man. Deeply religious, he intended to join the
priesthood. Somehow he managed to attend the University of
Cincinnati, where two events changed his life. First he met
Frances Schellhaus, a devout Catholic girl from Dayton, who
herself was intent on joining the sisterhood. Love won them
over, but their beliefs never wavered.
Second, World War Two erupted, and Joe had already enrolled
in the draft under the status of conscientious objector,
which meant he would willingly serve his country in a non
combat role. He was sent to California, and trained as a
medic. While there he wrote some beautiful prose of love for
Frances, and the glory of the Monterrey Coast. Although he
served in Iwo Jima, and other horrific battle arenas, he
never mentioned his experiences there to any of his four
children that he would eventually bring into the world with
Following the war, and completing his degree at Cincinnati,
he moved for some reason to Wallace, Idaho, where the first
born, Joseph P. Casey, and the second born, Thomas Aquinas
This is son Tom writing. Mom once told me, when Dad taught
school in Wallace, a small mining town, on his long walk
home the miners and townsfolk impeded his way, offering
food for the family and thanks for making their children
suddenly appreciate reading, poetry, classical music, and
most of all, self respect. She did utter with some disdain,
that on Fridays these same townsfolk would give him a glass
of beer, and she always knew he would be home an hour late.
From there, he and Frances moved little Joe and Tom to
Pueolpe, Washington, where Julia arrived. Soon thereafter,
somehow he found his way to Winchester, Indiana. How, and
why, remains a mystery. But he bought a big ol' house on
East Franklin Street, on a thirty year contract, in 1953.
Joe was a teacher, and the school had offered him a job. He
could easily walk to work, (this was convenient, he didn't
have a car for years). In Winchester, Maggie arrived. Maggie
still lives in the big ol' house with Joe Brown. I think the
house will forever be part of the family.
Joe taught for years, and directed the local pageants at the
park, writing, starring, and directing his own plays.
Myriads of Winchester children became men and women under
his tutelage. Stern and loving, you just had to learn
something, he refused to allow a failure among his students.
Fear and respect, and yes love, surrounded his presence in
the classroom and in the hallways. A common comment among
students heading to the next year, when they had scheduled
Speech or College Grammar, was "I just hope I survive". A
common comment of graduates was "I survived Speech and
College Grammar, I can survive anything in life."
For those of you in the Class of 1967, I hope you appreciate
your senior play was Mr. Casey's proudest moment as a
teacher. He wrote the script himself, directed it, and
student participation. He was even able to enlist
those too "cool" to take part in the theater arts,
as the evil Greek chorus. "Prometheus Unbound" became his
shining glory. Whether anyone in the community understood it
was not important. If I recall, the whole dang senior class
was either gladly involved, or somehow persuaded to join the
cast. Togas, ropes swinging from the rafters, good chorus
vs. evil chorus, Dad was ever so proud. I remember sitting
in the old Driver gym, on the old wooden bleachers, and
thinking, my Dad is nuts. How did he get all these kids to
be in his play?
One small man, one beautiful heart, by force or tears or
pleading, he reached deep into the souls of his students. I
visit his gravesite every time I am home, resting with his
beloved Frances. I always remind him: They still talk about