John Logan Casson, 81, died peacefully in Independence, Missouri, on April 13, ten years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He leaves his beloved wife of nearly 59 years, Jane Coolidge Casson of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; his brother Dan (Jan) Casson of Littleton, Colorado; his five children Laurian (David) Lytle of Leawood, Kansas; Julienne (David) Fritz of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Charles “Joe” Casson of Greenwood, Missouri; Leslie (Joel) VanderVeen of Omaha, Nebraska; Jill (James) Owen of Tucson, Arizona; 16 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and one on the way; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. His father (Charles “Joe” Casson), mother (Doris Elsie Logan Casson Pratt), a brother (Charles Casson), one grandchild and two nephews preceded him in death.
A graduate of Topeka High School, John went on to the University of Kansas and became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. While at KU John met and married the love of his life, Jane Coolidge. After graduation, John and his brother took over their father’s commercial construction business in Topeka. Many buildings bear the mark of Casson Construction including the Kansas Supreme Court building, Grace Episcopal Cathedral (after a devastating fire in 1975), Drury and Fleming Place, and First Christian Church.
His father, Joe, preceded him in death in 1953, and his mother, Doris, in 1995, but not before bestowing a sense of moral grounding that became his most valuable asset. If wealth were measured in kindness, John was one of the wealthiest persons to live. He sought wealth of friendship, knowledge and the satisfaction of doing everything to the best of his ability. His overwhelming generosity and thoughtfulness emerged in all parts of his life—in his construction business, music, coaching, sports, debate, pets, and family and friends.
Music was always a passion for John, and his formal foray into singing came soon after he was married and joined Grace Episcopal Cathedral. John was an advocate of eating right and exercising long before it became the politically correct healthy lifestyle. His athletic prowess and involvement in sports from an early age eventually drew him into handball, racquetball, and daily jogs on back roads. He spent over a decade of summers coaching and producing a state champion and national fast-pitch team, the Lady Royals, and indelibly marking the lives of many young women, some of who went on to coach and teach because of his influence.
He highly valued man’s ability to think and reason, and was extremely intelligent himself, but was a man of few words. In the winters, you would often find him on weekends at Washburn Rural High School judging debate tournaments, encouraging students to continue their pursuit of knowledge.
John was punctually challenged from an early age. If there was a divine schedule in place, John was likely late and the gates of heaven were over-crowded anticipating his arrival. He is now reunited with his parents and other family, his extended family of dogs and cats, and his friends that have passed before him.
A person lives their whole life hoping to make a difference; and John made a permanent difference by being generous, kind and thoughtful, and because of that, many people’s lives have been touched in perpetuity.
Services will be held at Grace Episcopal Cathedral on Saturday, April 29, at 11:00 am with a reception following at the Dillon House, Topeka. Graveside inurnment is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, April 28 at Penwell Gabel Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/donate; Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 SW 8th Ave, Topeka, KS 66603, or the YMCA of Topeka, 421 SW Van Buren Street, Topeka, KS, 66603.
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