Dr. Vernon Dale Casterline, born April 13, 1917, passed away Oct. 16, 2019, in his Keizer residence. He was 102.
Casterline was born in Vida, Montana. His mother passed away when he was 1-and-a-half years old. He and his older sister Lois went to live with their grandmother in Minnesota. He later returned to Montana to finish high school, graduating in 1935. After graduation, Casterline moved to Salem, Oregon in 1937 via an invitation from his aunts. While in Salem, he attended Willamette University and graduated in 1941. While attending classes at Willamette University, he worked part time down the road at Salem Hospital as their very first night orderly.
He enlisted in the Army in 1943 serving in the Medical Corp and honorably discharged in 1946 and later attended OHSU medical school in Portland where he graduated in 1948.
Casterline opened his general practice (physician & surgeon) office in Keizer, Ore., in 1950 as Keizer’s first doctor. He married his former surgical nurse from St. Vincent Hospital, Jeannie Ryser and together they raised five children. Retiring from his practice in 1986, Vernon kept busy making jewelry at the Salem Senior Center and as director of the Salem Plasma Center well into his 80s. After Jeanne’s death in 2002, Vernon married Geri Swope in 2006 and enjoyed 12 wonderful years together.
The sense of community meant much to Casterline. He found himself as part of a number of men and women starting their businesses in Keizer during the early 1950s. He was there to see and be part of Keizer moving from a community into a town with essential services. He often spoke fondly of Earl Mootry (pharmacist), Jerry Bowerly (dentist), Ray Boucher (jeweler), Larry Hamm (Union 76 service station), Al Lamer (TV repair/sales), Jack Johnson (Keizer saw shop), Robert Thomas (sheriff) and others as they were all pioneers of this wonderful community. He volunteered as the McNary High School Sports team physician from 1968-1986. Casterline worked tirelessly with others to preserve the history of Keizer, most specifically the memory of the old Keizer School House and he was integral in the creation of the Keizer Heritage Foundation.
Casterline is survived by his five children: Vernon (Sandy) Casterline of Wis., Patricia Casterline of Keizer, Mark Casterline of Ontario, Scott (Barbara) Casterline of Keizer, Debra Casterline (Gary) of Canby, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Viewing will be held on Friday, Nov. 15 from 3 p.m. to – 6 p.m., at Keizer Funeral Chapel. A private graveside service will be held for family Saturday morning at Claggett Creek Cemetery.
Public memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. at Life Spring Church, 9165 Portland Road in Brooks, Ore. Arrangements by Keizer Funeral Chapel.