Gilbert Howard Castle Jr.


Gilbert Howard Castle Jr. Obituary
Gilbert Howard Castle Jr. died peacefully at home on June 28, 2014 at age 88.
Gil came to California when his parents Gilbert and Florence Castle left New Jersey during the Great Depression. The family initially lived in Glendale near an aunt and uncle. Gil's Dad held a series of early jobs in California, including a period operating the Stanley Miller gold mine in the San Gabriel Canyon, where Gil's family lived on site. At one point, Gil's Dad had a job that involved the family and a string of pack mules walking from San Gabriel to Sacramento, and sleeping on the floor of Yosemite Valley. Years later, Gil surmised that his family probably was facing homelessness when his Dad took that job.
Eventually, Gil's parents bought a former timber homestead near Kings Canyon National Park and named it Castlewood. They lived in a tent while Gil and his Dad built the house. It was a world with a one room school house, kerosene lanterns, a wood stove, outhouse, chickens, ducks, pigs, fish, deer and a garden.
High school was nearly fifty miles down the mountain in Reedley, and it was on a trip to Reedley for supplies that Gil and his Dad heard the news about Pearl Harbor. Soon after, Gil's parents rented out Castlewood and the family moved to Long Beach for work on the docks. Gil worked as a longshoreman extra while completing high school. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and reported for induction just after high school graduation. He received part of his flight training at Taft.
After the War, Gil was discharged from the Army Air Corps and entered the University of Texas at Austin, paying for his education with the GI Bill and work in a sorority house. He then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where he married Margaret T. Castle and they started a family that grew to include four children.
Gil graduated from Cal with a business administration degree and went to work for the Kern County Land Company's accounting departments in Bakersfield and San Francisco. Subsequently, Gil became a District Landman in KCL's Oil Division, moving around the oil patch with his family to Midland-Odessa, Albuquerque, Durango, and Boulder.
In 1973, Gil became the General Manager of the Kern Delta Water District and served in that position for 20 years until his retirement. He thoroughly enjoyed and cared about the district and its customers, employees, and challenges.
Castlewood shaped Gil Castle's entire life. There he developed self-reliance and a life-long love for the outdoors, daily physical activity, and astronomy. Virtually every day of his adult life Gil Castle ran, swam, bicycled or skied. His favorite athletic activity was running, and he competed in many pedal and plods, one hour runs, 5ks, 10ks and marathons throughout California. He was one of the founders of the Bakersfield Track Club. At age 86, Gil was still riding a daily timed and measured 20 mile bicycle route through the streets of his neighborhood.
Throughout his life, Gil quietly helped other people help themselves. He helped numerous people get work, or loans for work cars, tuition, treatment programs for addiction, musical instruments, and artist supplies, to name a few. At a time when it was still unusual, he set an example for acceptance regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
Gil loved flying, baseball and especially the Giants and the Red Sox, track and field, American history, the Smithsonian, the Getty Museum, Puccini and especially La Boheme, Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, Vera Lynn, Les Brown, archeology, anthropology, and astronomy. He enjoyed sharing those interests with his children. Some of his happiest memories were of running or swimming or skiing with one or more of his children, playing chess or other board games with them, introducing them to the constellations with his home built telescopes, and taking his son John to see Willie Mays and the Giants, Washington D.C., and Gettysburg.
Gil's survivors include his wife of nearly forty years, Patricia T. Castle, son Gilbert H. Castle III and wife Deborah; daughter Susan Montgomery and husband Chris; son John Castle; daughter Robin Domnie and husband Scott; stepson Dave Stevens and wife Amber Bell, and stepson John Stevens and wife Vena, as well as grandchildren David Castle, Matthew Montgomery, Jennifer Montgomery, Adam Domnie, Katheryn Domnie and their spouses; and step-grandchildren Amy, Megan, and Paige Stevens.
He also is survived by his sister Jean Erickson and husband Calvin, brother Bruce Castle and wife Gay, and by nieces and nephews Christine Christensen; Caleen, Dave, John, and Keith Erickson and their spouses; Kenneth, Ted, and Joy Castle and their spouses. Gil was predeceased by his beloved sister Virginia Christensen, his brother-in-law Stanley Christensen, and his sister-in-law Beverly Christensen.
A service to celebrate Gil's life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 28, 2014 at Greenlawn Southwest Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in Gil's name to: Hoffmann Hospice, 8501 Brimhall Road, Building 100, Bakersfield, CA 93312 or online at www.hoffmannhospice.org;
or to .
Published in Bakersfield Californian on July 13, 2014
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