Castell James Ronald "Ron" Castell passed away on Thursday, October 31, 2013 from multiple system atrophy, a rare neurodegenerative disease. In his 18 years in Columbus, Ron brought his unique creativity and marketing talent to Lazarus Department Store, City National Bank, the Gilligan Administration, WBNS and QUBE. Despite living away from Ohio for the past 35 years, Ron treasured his Columbus roots and remained one of its biggest boosters. He could take any conversation and somehow manage to convince those gathered that "It all started in Columbus". Ron began his career in Columbus at Lazarus Department Store. As City National Bank's marketing vice president, Ron spent five years promoting the then-novel concept of the universal credit card. He became chairman of the Bank Marketing Association giving speeches and interviews introducing this new way of doing business. Ron was Executive Assistant to Governor John Gilligan. He was head of marketing for WBNS and served four years as chairman of the Ohio State Fair and the State Student Loan Commission. When Warner Cable chose Columbus as the site of QUBE, its foray into interactive cable service, Ron joined the venture as Executive Vice President of Marketing. He later headed Warner Cable's successful effort to win the cable franchise for Pittsburgh. Ron was a creative marketing force, serving in senior marketing positions for cable television programming companies and later, home video. In 1989, he became senior vice president of programming for Blockbuster Video and spent the next 23 years associated with Wayne Huizenga companies in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Barbara Ruger Castell; two daughters, Kelly (Jason) Blanton and Julie Castell, both of Columbus; a stepson, Jared (Erin) Ruger of San Francisco; and three grandchildren, Kate and Will Gingery and Carson Ruger.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Nov. 2, 2013