WESTERLY, R.I. - Harold C. Karsten, 78, passed peacefully Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.
Hal was born in Evanston, Ill. on April 22, 1935 to Harold and Elda (Haefke) Karsten.
He is survived by his wife of 54 happy years, Maureen (McGrath); son, Michael Karsten and his wife, Joell, of Seneca Falls, N.Y.; daughter Kristine Birkbeck and her husband, Michael, of North Stonington, Conn.; daughter, Lea Ann ONeill and her husband, Terrance, of Sutton, Mass.; sister, Susan Nehrlich, of Lake Geneva, Wis.; sister, Terri Rairie, of Racine, Wis.; three wonderful grandchildren, Magan, Alyss,a and Elliana; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by one sister, Carolyn Durr.
Hal graduated from Northwestern University
, received his Master's Degree from ECSU, and Sixth Year Certification in Administration from UCONN. His career began in Stonington where, for eight years, he taught 5th grade and then math and science at mystic Middle School. For the next 24 years, he was associated with the Preston School System as a math teacher and coordinator, assistant principal and, finally, principal at Poquetanuck Elementary School where he loved greeting the kids arriving off the bus every morning.
Hal was a jazz aficionado who traveled near and far to find the best music festivals. Many weekends in June were spent enjoying the Connecticut Essex Jazz Festival. He also entertained his family with stories from his youth of seedy basement jazz clubs in Chicago. Over the years he amassed a jazz collection that would rival the most dedicated enthusiast.
He was a Civil War and general history buff. No summer family camping trip would be complete without stopping by a battlefield, significant ship or monument. He was forever the educator, even out of the classroom.
Hal was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and brother. His proudest achievement was his family which was the most important thing to him. He was a constant fixture at his children's school sports events, achieving "mascot" status. He enjoyed spending the cold winter months in Florida with his wife, where daily walks or bike rides were a must.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Connecticut Education Foundation Children's Fund, 21 Oak Street, Suite 500, Hartford, CT 06106; or Hydrocephalus Association, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 905, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St. Westerly.