James Ronald Castell

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James Ronald "Ron" Castell, 75, who for fifty years was an innovative and creative marketing force in banking, radio, commercial television, cable television, motion pictures and home video passed away October 31, 2013 from a rare neurodegenerative disease. Ron moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1989 to join Blockbuster Video as Senior Vice President for Programming. He was Blockbuster's Hollywood connection, responsible for film buying and studio relations. Ron created Blockbuster's star-studded FAME events and masterminded its legendary annual meetings. After Blockbuster purchased Aaron Spelling Productions, Ron served in the Office of the President running Spelling Entertainment. Ron's move to Blockbuster marked the beginning of a 23-year working relationship with Wayne Huizenga. After the sale of Blockbuster, Ron served as senior vice president of Huizenga Holdings. Ron was chairman of the Broward County Library Foundation, chairman of the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival and was appointed by Jeb Bush to chair the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council. He orchestrated, emceed and chaired innumerable charitable and community events. Ron loved the silver screen and the written word. He was up before five every morning to watch a movie while simultaneously reading four newspapers. The "Mogul" saw virtually every movie ever made and could discuss each and every one with an encyclopedic knowledge. His love of movies was matched by his passion for books and magazines and he read thousands of them. Born January 28, 1938, Ron grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University. He was a veteran of the US Army, serving in Seoul, Korea where he hosted the Armed Service's morning radio wake-up program. He began his career in Columbus, Ohio working for Lazarus Department Store, WBNS, and City National Bank, later Banc One. As City National's marketing vice president, Ron spent five years promoting the then-novel concept of a universal bankcard and ATM machines. Ron was Executive Assistant to Ohio Governor John Gilligan and became a fixture in the Columbus community chairing the Ohio State Fair for five years and the State Student Loan Commission. He was at the forefront of interactive media serving as executive vice president of marketing for QUBE, Warner Cable's interactive cable service. Ron led Warner Cable's successful effort to win the Pittsburgh cable franchise. He served as a senior marketing executive for several cable television programming services. Ron authored the book, "The Blockbuster Video Guide to the Movies and Videos," hosted the "Reel Ron" Radio Show and co-founded a venture to produce motion pictures for underserved markets. Ron was a member of First Presbyterian Church, The Lauderdale Yacht Club and Grande Oaks Golf Club. Surviving are his wife of 31 years, Barbara Ruger Castell; two daughters, Kelly (Jason) Blanton and Julie Castell, both of Columbus, Ohio; a step-son Jared (Erin) Ruger of San Francisco and three grandchildren, Kate and Will Gingery and Carson Ruger. Ron will be remembered for his clever and creative mind, enthusiastic embrace of life, suspenders and bow ties, famous chili, beloved martinis, and love of good conversation. As Ron said, "What a ride. I am so grateful." A celebration of life service will be held Tuesday, November 5 at 4:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Ron's honor to the Community Foundation of Broward, 910 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301. Condolences may be shared at www.fredhunters.com

Funeral Home
Fred Hunters Funerals Cremation Cemeteries
718 South Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316-1219
Funeral Home Details
Published in Sun-Sentinel on Nov. 2, 2013
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