Joseph Arthur Castillo

  • "I will always have a place in my heart for my favorite..."
  • "Just watching a documentary on WWII German P.O.W.s in Berga..."
    - Tom Gallagher
  • "Mr. Castillo was such a great teacher and person. I had a..."
    - Radel (Maas) Vela
  • "So very sorry to hear of Mr. Castillo's passing. Loved his..."
    - Julie Bettencourt-Harshman

Joseph Arthur Castillo, 88, passed away peacefully Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at his home in Paso Robles, surrounded by his wife, Barbara, children and niece, Armida. He was born in May 1925 in Socorro, N.M., into a large, loving family of six brothers and sisters who doted on him. They loved to make each other laugh with their stories of adventures growing up in their big family '? and there were many! Joe had been a resident of the Central Coast for 53 years. In those 88 years, he managed to live an extraordinary life. Joe was a man of The Greatest Generation. When World War II broke out, he left high school before he graduated and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was in one of the troops to land in the Normandy countryside a week after D-Day. He fought through France over the next several months to help liberate Europe from the long grip of Nazi tyranny. '?One night near the Belgium border while on patrol, his squad became separated as German soldiers chased them. As daylight broke, he looked up and saw a German Captain pointing a pistol at his head as he was being captured - the sole survivor of his platoon. Joe spent the remainder of the War as a German POW, and spent time at Dachau, as well as other concentration work camps. When he was finally liberated, he weighed 90 pounds. When he returned home from the service to Socorro, he finished high school before he went on to complete his first two years of college at Multnomah University in Oregon.'?He then transferred to Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M., where he earned his bachelor's degree with a major in History. He completed his master's degree at San Francisco State University. '?He used his education in his teaching career before finally retiring from Cayucos Elementary School after a total career of 35 years of teaching. During his retirement, he continued to enjoy and substitute teach for another 10 years.'?Joe suffered a severe stroke in June 1998 while substitute teaching in Stockton, Calif. He courageously persevered with his new limitations, always with good words, a kind touch and strong will to keep on living. '?He kept his sense of humor, love of his children, grandchildren and family right to the very end. '?His wife, Barbara, cared for him throughout his 15-year journey of rehabilitation, convalescing and coming home. Through her determination, love and care for Joe, his family was able to spend a remarkable 15 more years with him. '?It was truly amazing and a blessing to those who loved Joe to see how well he was cared for up to the very end. '?Throughout this journey, Barbara was assisted by several loving caregivers: Lani, Angela, Nicole, Wanda and Polly, in addition to their daughters, Joanne and Jacqueline, and granddaughter, Ashley.'?Joe and Barbara met while they both were working at a city recreation program during the summer. Barbara fell in love with the amazing way Joe had with children and the enjoyment he received when working with them. '?Little did she know that he would not only become a special father to their children, but that he would touch the lives of the many students he taught and came into contact with throughout his 45 years of teaching elementary school and the students he met as he assisted Barbara with chaperoning duties that came along with her position as a high school teacher. '?He was always ready for an all-night grad trip to Disneyland, driving the athletes (including his children) after Friday afternoon and evening games to catch up to the ski club that had left earlier in the day or to dance at one more dance! '?Joe's affable personality, infectious laugh and legendary patience were qualities treasured by both family and friends. '?His son, Chris' friends remember fondly the times Joe spent coaching them basketball, taking them to the skate park or just driving them to the movies, where he patiently waited in the car with his newspaper. '?His oldest daughter, Joanne and her children were blessed with Joe's care for them while they were growing up in a role he loved as their "Pipa" (as he was named by his first grandchild, Wesley). '?His daughter, Jacqueline lovingly remembers Joe's high school class reunion she attended with him and his brothers a few years after his stroke. It was a "miracle" for many at the reunion when she got him up to dance!'?She will forever remember his love of music and dancing. His children had the luxury of experiencing first-hand, how a great father should act. '?While living in Cayucos, he served as President of the Cayucos Lions Club. He was also a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Cayucos and taught catechism classes there for many years when his children were in elementary school. '?He was a lifetime member of the California Teachers Association and in retirement, belonged to Divisions 23 and 86 of the California Retired Teachers Association in San Luis Obispo County. He was also a member of the American Legion and supported the development of the World War II Museum in New Orleans. '?He had been a supporter of 4-H for his own children, grandchildren and other children through the livestock auction at the Mid-State Fair.'?Joseph is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara; daughters Joanne Murphy (Doug) and Jacqueline Castillo; son, Chris Castillo (Lori); loving brothers Carlos (Connie), Rudy (Sophie) and J.J. (Carmen); sister-in laws Janis Mills and Deborah Cox (Steve); and many nieces and nephews. '?He had a special place in his heart for his grandchildren, who knew and loved their "Pipa;" Wesley, Ashley and Brianna Murphy, and Bennett and Reina Castillo. '?He was preceded in death by his parents, Josefita and Juan Castillo; sisters Domenica, Barbara and Flora; mother-in-law, Marie; sister-in-law Laurel, and brothers-in-law Patrick and Charlie. '?A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 at the Old Mission Church, followed by the Rite of Committal at the Old Mission Cemetery in San Luis Obispo. A reception and celebration of his life will follow at The Monday Club in San Luis Obispo.'?In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Joe's name to the following: Scholarship Fund, California Retired Teachers Association in San Luis Obispo County, Division 23, 977 Pasatiempo Dr., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405; or Division 86, P.O. Box 454, Santa Margarita, CA 93453. '?He was a resident of Cayucos for 42 years, having spent many days at the beach and pier with his family, so donations in his name to "Save Cayucos" are also appreciated.

Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Aug. 4, 2013