SOUTH HADLEY - Maurice F. Casey, Jr., of South Hadley, died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at his home, just two months shy of his 89th birthday. He had been battling congestive heart failure for most of the last year.
He leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Helen (Cray) Casey and their four children, David Casey and his wife Lianne of Amherst, Maggie Stabinsky and her husband William of Ellington, Conn., Philip Casey and his wife Linda of Granby, and Maura Cardellicchio and her husband James of Reston, Va. He was also a proud grandfather to Christopher, Alexander, Kevin, Katie, Hannah, Nicholas, John, Josie and Anna.
Moe, as he was known, grew up on Allen Street in Holyoke, and attended Nonotuck School and graduated from Holyoke High School class of 1942. He then went on to St. John's Prep in Danvers, before being drafted into the U.S. Army for World War II. As an infantryman he saw action in France before being shot by a German sniper in November of 1944 as his unit was advancing on an occupied village. It turned out to be a "million dollar wound", getting him out of the war, discharged from the Army, and into college. He then graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1949 and returned to Holyoke.
As jobs were scarce at that time, he worked for a couple of years as a methods engineer in the American Bosh plant in Springfield and later for the Springfield Armory. Working in a larger company was not for him, and he soon became his own boss. He started an advertising agency, Casey Advertising, on his kitchen table, and then moved to a small office above the Victory Theatre for $20 a month. From there, he moved into a building on Suffolk Street that was owned by his childhood friend, John Dowd. As the business continued to grow, he eventually bought his own building in 1976, a three story brownstone on Maple Street next to the old Holyoke Fire Station Headquarters. In the early 90's, Casey Associates, as it was then known, was the largest advertising agency in Western Massachusetts with 17 employees and a strong reputation for marketing strategy and creative work that produced results. Over the years his clients included Oxford Pickles, General Electric Plastics, General Electric Aircraft Engines, Kollmorgen, Mass Mutual, Community Savings Bank, New England Marriott Hotels, Tara Hotels, Red Jacket Inns, and Columbus Travel, just to name a few. In the late 60's, he also founded Posters, Inc., creating contemporary posters for the 1968 presidential primary, and reproducing World War I and World War II recruitment posters. The company is now the largest manufacturer of military recruitment and historic posters in the country and is still privately owned by his family.
For his service to his country, he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. In 2009, he was named a Chevalier by the French government and awarded the Legion of Honor Medal. Ironically, the day the telegram came home to his family notifying them he had been wounded in Europe, the family of his best friend from Holyoke, John Dalton, also received a telegram notifying them of John's death in the war.
Maurice was a two term president of the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, a Pynchon Medal Trustee for 10 years, and a longtime member of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce. He also was a past president of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Western Massachusetts. During his years at Notre Dame, most of the other students were also veterans, and Moe met a large variety of characters coming from all walks of life. He made lifelong friends and brought back dozens of stories from the war and college, to the delight of this family and friends. No one enjoyed his tales more than he did, and he relished telling his grandchildren about his escapades. He would rarely get to the end of a story without laughing so hard himself that he could never finish the punch line, but everyone knew how they ended so it never really mattered. Watching him tell a story was almost as good as listening to it.
Moe's Catholic faith was strong, and although a parishioner of St. Patrick's in South Hadley, he attended weekly Mass at St. Jerome's in Holyoke. That chapel was special to him, as it was where he and his wife Helen were married. St. Jerome's was also across the street from his office so he'd frequently attend the daily noon Mass.
Moe was also a prolific writer and had been working on writing a book since his retirement. He was immensely proud of putting all four children through college, of operating his own business for over 40 years, and of his gentleman's farm in South Hadley where he raised sheep and enjoyed gardening. When at last he sold his sheep to Hampshire College, he loved telling everyone that his sheep had finally left and gone off to college.
Calling hours will be Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley.
A funeral mass will be held Thursday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m. at St. Jerome's in Holyoke (9 a.m. for those going to the funeral home) followed by his burial in Evergreen Cemetery in South Hadley center.
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Ryder Funeral Home
33 Lamb Street South Hadley, MA 01075
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Dec. 17, 2013