Joseph B. Casserly Jr. thumbnail

Joseph B. Casserly

July 18, 1934 -
September 29, 2021

Joseph B. Casserly, Jr, 87, died peacefully on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at home surrounded by his family.

Born in Champaign, Joe attended St. Mary’s grade school, University High School, and the University of Illinois, with a degree in Civil Engineering.  Joe was a polio survivor, having contracted polio at…read more

Joseph B. Casserly, Jr, 87, died peacefully on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at home surrounded by his family.

Born in Champaign, Joe attended St. Mary’s grade school, University High School, and the University of Illinois, with a degree in Civil Engineering.  Joe was a polio survivor, having contracted polio at age 7. He was named the March of Dimes polio poster boy in Champaign County and went on to help other polio patients by donating his blood for antibody treatment until a vaccine was created.

He proudly served in the US Navy as Engineering Officer on the USS Hammerberg DE105. He was the duty officer on board during the rescue effort of the collision of the Italian liner Andrea Doria and the Swedish liner Stockholm in July 1956. He also received a letter of commendation for his heroic effort to save his ship during a Nor’easter storm in March 1956.

Joe had a passion for planes and cars. He owned and raced an AC Bristol car. During a race in Lawrenceville, IL, he met his future wife Sandra Racine who was operating a radio and phone on the track.  He invited her to ride with him, carrying the checkered flag.

Joe began his career forming Casserly Construction in the 1960’s. His company built several buildings including University of Illinois Credit Union and the Urbana Fire Station. He later took over family-owned Illini Chemical Company. Later in his career he became chief pilot for Champaign based Flo Con Systems/Vesuvius USA. He retired in 2001 with over 18,000 flight hours.

Joe had many interests including flying, sports car racing, Tai Chi, and golf. He enjoyed volunteering for AARP’s free tax preparation for 25 years. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife Sandra and spending winters in Key Largo, Florida. He was a proud founding member of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Champaign.

Joe was happiest flying high as a pilot, golfing with his feet on the ground or spinning tales of the seas when he served in the navy. He loved cheering for his grandchildren’s hockey and volleyball games…and he mostly enjoyed sharing stories with all. We will miss you dearly Joe, Dad, Papa.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sandra Racine Casserly, daughters Colleen Zambole, Maureen (Michael) Niski, Sheila (James) Clary, and grandchildren Matthew Zambole, Caroline and Meghan Niski, Erin Clary, and his sister, Margaret Casserly Simone.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph B. Casserly and Jeanette Brummel Casserly, and his brother Michael W. Casserly.

A memorial mass will take place on Thursday, October 7th at 10am at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Champaign.

For those wishing to send an expression of condolence, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, P.O. Box 468, Champaign, IL 61824.

Condolences may be offered at www.morganmemorialhome.com.

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Service Information

Service Information

Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021

Time: 10:00 am

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Address:

1303 Lincolnshire Dr.
Champaign, Illinois 61821

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