Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
John Thomas Casey ’60, a fifty-six year resident of Nevada City, died at his Banner Mountain home on June 22, 2016, surrounded by his beloved family. He was 78 years old. Born to John and Margaret Casey, in Burns, Oregon, he was the first of eight children. At the age of 12, John developed Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and although the effects of this disease changed his life dramatically, he didn’t let his illness define him. Unfortunately, his doctors assigned extended bed rest, and when he could no longer walk, his parents took him to the Mayo clinic for treatment. He missed a year of school, but studied diligently at home, determined to stay a grade ahead of his younger brother. After the family relocated to Portland, John graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1956. John attended Santa Clara University because of the healing effects of its warm climate, and its Jesuit-based education. He was active in the male chorus and served as Vice President of the student body. It was there that he met his wife, Claire, a San Jose State nursing student, after seeing a photograph of her on his roommate’s desk. They married in 1960, after their graduations, and moved to North San Juan, so that John could run his father’s sawmill, Sierra Mountain Mills. This began his long career in the lumber business, which included serving as President of Western Wood Products. In the eighties, John and a few other men from the mill began to sell lumber, and that venture became Caseywood. In 1965, John moved his growing family to Banner Mountain, where he and Claire raised their four children. Although arthritis kept John from sports, he was the ultimate fan, watching his children, and then his grandchildren, as they participated in athletics, theater, and musical performances. He loved birthday gatherings, toasting at weddings, strong hugs, dinners with friends, barbecues, and cheering for the Gonzaga University Bulldogs basketball team. John loved Nevada City, and was an active member of the community. He coached Little League, was on the Board of Nevada Union High School, served two terms on the Grand Jury, and was also on the Boards of Music in the Mountains, Citizens Bank, and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. John headed the Capital Campaign to build the hospital’s Cancer Center. He was active at both St. Canice and St. Patrick’s churches, and he and Claire were members of the Empire Club for forty years. John is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Claire, their four children, Kathleen Gianotti ’83 (Jerry Gianotti ’83), Kevin (Sara), Mark (Kirsten Casey ’89), and Julie Fraser ’90 (Brent Fraser ’90), eleven grandchildren: Madeleine McHill (Andrew), Michaela (Lucas) and Kristen Gianotti, Colin (Lisa), Molly, Nick, Hannah, and Ellie Casey, Jane, Jack, and Claire Fraser, and one great grandson, Henry McHill. He is also survived by his siblings and their spouses, Brian (Peggy) and Michael (Mary) Casey, Colleen (Bob) Donnelly, and Maureen (Tom) Fullmer. He was predeceased by his parents, and three of his brothers: Tim, Dennis, and Pat.