Helen Casteel

| 15 Apr 2024 | 03:41

On a snowy day, Jan. 16, 2024, our dear ma/markie passed on from this physical plane. She was 93.

She was born Helen Theresa Dowd in Lake Hopatcong on June 7, 1930, to Daniel Dowd and May Congleton Dowd.

The youngest of six, her parents soon moved the family to Paterson, and over the years, Helen often spoke of her beloved Jackson Street as well as Garrett Mountain, Bertrand’s Island and Falls View, just a few of her favorite places.

When Helen was in her early 20s, she loved to travel to parts unknown on the Greyhound bus with her best friend, Loretta.

She was married in 1952 to Robert Casteel and had her son, Ron, while living in Elyria, Ohio, in 1953. Five years later, her daughter, Dawn, was born in Paterson, where they lived until 1962 before moving to Ogdensburg and raising their two children there.

Helen loved family above all else and enjoyed being with her sisters and brothers. She always said what she wanted most in life was to be a mother so we celebrate her and are thankful for her love and devotion.

She was affectionately known as markie by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Anyone who knew Helen had to be prepared for one of her startling, epic screams at the drop of a hat. We’re talking blood-curdling screams worthy of a movie set. A snake behind the washing machine, a spider making its way along the wall, a sudden clap of thunder, someone walking up behind her to say hello, anything that took her by surprise was met with a shriek and reaching out to grab the person’s arm nearest her, which was often followed by a good laugh.

She loved warm weather, sunny days, and the first sight of crocus and daffodil peeking their heads up through the earth, a sure sign of spring, her favorite season.

Many dogs and cats called our home theirs and often revered ma, especially Minque, who loved her dearly, and with whom she is now reunited along with a long list of other animals.

We wish to thank the Knoll Heights and Knoll View Community, where ma had moved in 2006 before going to Barnhill in Newton in 2020.

We want to thank the wonderful staff at Barnhill for caring for ma in the memory care wing the past few years. They treated her with grace, compassion and kindness.

In the past few months, the hospice staff from Ennoble were gracious, giving her that little bit of extra personal touch that we all need.

We also extend our gratitude to the Ramsey Funeral Home in Franklin for their gentle ways of walking loved ones through the process.

Time is an interesting concept and goes by so much quicker than we thinkm so hold a hand, say a kind word, smile at someone who needs it.

You did good, ma. We all love you and will always tend your garden.

Helen is survived by her son, Ron Casteel (Patty) of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; her daughter, Dawn Casteel-Lorick (Ernie) of Bearsville, N.Y.; her two grandchildren, Jennifer Casteel-Beshada (Jay) of Stillwater and Bob Casteel (Meghan) of Flanders; and her great-grandchildren, Desiree, Bria, Callie, Colin, Ellie and Easton.

She was predeceased by her stillborn daughter, Gail (Aug. 16, 1956); her father, Daniel Dowd, and mother, May Conklin Dowd; and her siblings and their spouses, Mary Dowd Schenker (Jack Schenker), Daniel Dowd (Jay), Frank Dowd (Eva), John Dowd (Melva) and Ruth Dowd Van De Weghe (Frank); and her late husband, Robert Casteel, who passed in 1977.

Her ashes will be buried in North Hardyston Cemetery come spring when the ground has thawed, and there will be a family gathering in celebration of her life in June.

Private cremation services under the direction of F John Ramsey Funeral Home, One Main St., Franklin.