Dr. Vern Casterline
Vern Casterline wasn’t striving to become a centenarian, but as he was about to pass the 100-year mile post, in 2017, Keizertimes asked him what the secret is to longevity.
“Pick good ancestors,” he quipped.
Casterline, who passed Oct. 16, was one of three Keizer pioneers to pass in the past two weeks. Ray Boucher, who founded Boucher Jewelers on River Road North, passed away Oct. 12. Louise Boucher, Ray’s wife, passed away Oct. 21.
Keizertimes spoke to Ray and Louise in 2013 as Boucher Jewelers marked its 60th anniversary.
“At the time, nothing was out here,” Ray said. “There were just some orchards and a service station on the corner. We had no inventory. I did clock and watch repair. I was doing it for what few customers we had, plus for other stores. That kept us going the first few years.”
Times were so tight, that even paying for medicine for their three sons, Ron, Jeff and Steve, threatened to put the kibosh on the jewelry business.
They tried many things to keep the business afloat, including a free beef giveaway that became a Keizer tradition for a while. Louise was still tickled that it took off.
“It was kind of corny at first,” she said.
Ray and Louise Boucher (Photo courtesy Boucher family)
Three years prior to the Bouchers opening their jewelry store, in 1950, Vern opened Keizer’s first doctor’s office. He borrowed heavily to purchase the equipment he needed, but the dearth of medical practitioners in the area helped him pay it all off within a year.
Casterline was on hand for the birth of generations of Keizer families and became the first team doctor for the McNary High School Celtics.
“Dr. Casterline delivered me as well as two of my children. He was a kind man and a wonderful doctor,” said Mary Brenneman.
Both Vern and Ray were founding members of the Keizer Merchants Association and active members of the Rotary Club of Keizer. A space where their work was felt for another generation.
“Ray was so welcoming to me at the Keizer Rotary in 1986 when I was an exchange student,” said Cathy Walker Kerr.
Casterline retired in 1986, the Bouchers followed in1991 after selling the business to Jeff and Steve.
“All [three] had hearts of gold and generous spirits. I have fond memories of all,” said Virginia Crim Denison.
Before Keizertimes ended its last interview with Dr. Casterline, we asked him if he had any advice those younger than him – even if we don’t live to 100.
“If you want something, go for it. Don’t give up on the first try. If you want it and you’re qualified for it, work for it,” he said. “Being around hospitals was something that got into my blood. I liked those surroundings. When I wanted [a] job as an orderly, I just kept asking.”