John Jacob Cassell, “John J.,” was born in Grafton, WV to George Albert and Lula Cassell. He lived a long, full, and happy life and passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his wife and children, on February 10, 2021. He was 93 years old.
John would not have been complete without his wife, Irene, his high school sweetheart and the light, heart, and soul of his life. John and Renee married in the Mother’s Day Church in Grafton and spent 70 blessed and wonderful years together. Theirs was a love story for the ages; they spent virtually every day of their married lives together, pursuing life’s adventures. Together, they travelled the world, from Europe, to Africa, to Asia and Australia. They loved their time with their children and their children’s families. John and Renee spent many happy summer vacations with family at the Jersey shore and Bethany Beach, DE and weekends camping in their Vanagon with their beloved dogs Bonnie and Duke. John believed that family was more important than anything else and he devoted his life to his.
John spent a care-free childhood, in the Park View neighborhood of Grafton catching fish, swimming in Tygart Lake, and exploring his uncle’s farm. As a 17-year-old high school senior, John left home to serve his country after football season, hanging up his cleats to put on a uniform as a Merchant Marine alongside his father in World War II. He served on convoys that provided fuel to ships in the Battle of the Atlantic and in the Pacific theater. He joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
John completed his undergraduate studies at Potomac State in Keyser, WV where he paid his way through school with the winnings from boxing matches. He attended West Virginia University Law School on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1956. John joined State Farm Insurance upon graduation from law school. He retired as a Divisional Claims Superintendent in the Newark, Ohio regional office after 35 years with State Farm where he met life-long friends and was respected by his colleagues for his fairness, professionalism, and good nature.
John was an active member of the Granville community. He was a long-time vestry member and Senior Warden at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, on the board of the Granville Recreation Commission, and a bass player in the Granville music club. He volunteered to help those in need, serving lunches at the Salvation Army, and making dinners for the homeless in Columbus. John dedicated his later years to veterans issues, helping to organize military honors for fallen service members.
John was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, George Austin, and James Albert. He is survived by his wife, Irene; children and their spouses, John Michael and Suellen Cassell, Mary Irene Cassell and Bruce Auster, and David Andrew Cassell; grandchildren, Leigh Anne Cassell, Emma McHugh, Andrew Cassell, Hannah Cassell -Hogan, Paul Cassell, Quentin Auster, and Bryce Auster; and great-grandson, Declan Hogan.
John J. was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather and he will be missed deeply by his family. The family is considering a memorial service in the late spring or early summer in order to celebrate John’s life together.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Homeless Veterans Project, C/O Licking County Coalition for Housing, 23 S Park Place #200, Newark, OH 43055- please include SSVF Program on Memo Line or Wounded Warriors, 4899 Belfort Road Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.mcpeekhoekstra.com