Karl R. Crisler
April 12, 1932 - Nov. 6, 2009
CASSOPOLIS - Karl R. Crisler, 77, of North O'Keefe Street, Cassopolis, MI, died Friday, November 6, 2009, in the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, after a short illness. He was born April 12, 1932, in Grand Rapids, MI, the son of the late Joseph and Ardith (Taber) Crisler, and had been a resident of Cassopolis since 1968, coming from Elkhart, IN. Karl married the former Dora S. Jones on April 16, 1954, in Elkhart, IN, who preceded him in death May 5, 2008. Karl is survived by five children, Patricia (Bill) Chosa of Covington, MI, Belinda (Gary) Gravit Sr. of Cassopolis, Camille (Gary) Frisbee of Clarksville, TN, Karla (Trini) Reyna of Sherwood, AR, and Bryan (Cindi) Crisler of Muncie, IN. He is also survived by 26 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren; and six sisters, Diane Crume of Florida, Joyce Barrack of Pahrump, NV, Ruth Ann Carl of Seymour, MD, Donna Patten of Grand Rapids, MI, Ethel Carson of Howard City, MI, and Marion Counterman. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Perrianne Charles; a grandson, Gary Gravit Jr.; four great-grandchildren, Melonie Lynn Charles, Wyatt Charles, Lindsy West and Leah West; a brother, James Crisler; and his stepfather, Forrest Oberlin. Karl was a retired school teacher who taught in several area schools. He and his wife Dora were also owner/operators of Flatlander Photo in Dowagiac, where his wife ran a lunch counter. They later moved their business to Cassopolis. Karl was a U.S. Army veteran, serving in Korea. He was a charter and life member of William E. Lozier V.F.W. Post #10704 in Cassopolis. He was on the Board of Governors with the Barn Swallow Theater in Cassopolis. He directed the Dinner Theater and plays there. He also was a volunteer with the Cass County Council on Aging and did the Reader Theater Program there, and was their photographer. He received his bachelor's degree in Arts from Purdue University, his master's degree in Arts from Western Michigan University, and his teacher's degree from Michigan State University. Karl and his wife were well-known as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause and did many area appearances during the holiday. They did this for over 20 years. Karl's wishes were to have his body donated to the University of Michigan Medical School. A funeral service will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, in the Connelly Funeral Home, Cassopolis. Officiating will be Rev. Larry Settle, retired pastor of Pleasant View Church of Christ, Cassopolis. Military honors will be rendered by members of William E. Lozier V.F.W. Post #10704 and Efton James American Legion Post #206, both of Cassopolis. The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Cass County Council on Aging, to the Barn Swallow Theater, or to William E. Lozier V.F.W. Post #10704, all of Cassopolis. Online condolences may be sent to [email protected].
Published by South Bend Tribune on Nov. 10, 2009.
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23 Entries
Mr. Crisler was my teacher for Spanish. Not only that, he got me into acting and playing in the stage bands. We even did a play in Spanish, "Carboncita." Cast as the mean stepmother, I remember being exasperated and play-acting a faint - saying "Ay! No Puedo Mas!" The Spanish that I learned in Mr. Crisler's class took me a long ways and I still use it some, these days. The acting helped, too. He was always a joy to be around. He knew how to challenge you to be your best, too. Oh, I think he taught my mom, too - adult ed. Sorry to hear that he passed.
Trudy Kilian (nee Leach)
January 7, 2010
I met KC on my first day at the COA and he has influenced me right up to this moment. As I read the notes, I realize how many people were influenced by KC. Whether he was shooting pictures, holding court at the COA morning coffee, acting and directing at the Barn Swallow, or being a mentor, there is one thing about Karl that will always stand out. He was always there when you needed him. He served his Country, Community, friends and his lovely family with the only way he knew how, and that was at 100%. He encouraged me to move to Los Angeles and I never never fully thanked him for those words of encouragement.
It is a real drag that Santa has made his last deliveries in Michiana, yet we can all keep him alive by passing on his poetic, nuggets of life..
Thank you my brother...
timothy a. bennett
November 15, 2009
Karl was my high school drama teacher and directed many of the plays while I attended Cassopolis High School, 1961-65. He was, quite simply, outstanding, passionate, and dedicated to bringing out the best in each of his students. It was good to see him at some of the lunches in the Cass County Council on Aging building when I visited Mom and Dad back home. He'll be missed.
Richard (Dick) Follett
November 11, 2009
My thoughts and prayers go out to Karl's family. He was a great man who touched many lives. I feel privileged to have known him for the short time that I did. His stories of the things he has done in his life were amazing. I am sure God has reserved a special place for him up there beside him. He will have a great view for his "naughty and nice list".
Julie Scott
November 11, 2009
i did not have him as my teacher but i did get to know him at bingo in cass....My sister had him as a teacher...she really liked him....Karrie Davis-Tartt
Karrie Davis
November 11, 2009
My deepsest condolences to all the Crisler family and friends upon the loss of your dad, grandfather, greatfather. I was out of town or believe I would have been with you at his Memorial service. He was my teacher at Cassopolis High School and a part of most of our reunions, always ready to snap a few photos. The COA will miss him as he was a treasure to them just he was to all of us. He is now reunited with the love of his life and they can share etertnity together. My thoughts and prayers to all. Iwas there in spirit. Dianne Jackson Cassopolis graduate 1969.
Dianne Jackson
November 11, 2009
Thoughts of Karl Crisler:
In Barn Swallow Theatre activities, I have been blessed to work next to Karl. Most recently, Karl and I were cutting grass at the M62 barn site for the future theater. One of Karl’s many accomplishments was making it possible to get this site which was given by Mr. Karcson. Karl was a friend of many folks in the Cassopolis area including my late brother Herb and his wife Sherry. Karl was a man who made things happen. He might grump at folks but everyone knew that Karl’s heart was filled with love for people.
I was amazed to learn from his obituary that did his Bachelor Degree studies at Purdue University. It is quite likely that I saw him at Purdue when I was an undergraduate in the post-Korean war era. I would have like to talk him about those Purdue days.
I will carry with me to my end, the fond memories of Karl.
Bob Wurster
(I will be in spirit at Karl’s memorial service although I am confined to home with an upper respiratory infection or flu.)
Bob Wurster
November 11, 2009
Condolences to the Family of Karl. but oh what a wonderful life that must of been to have a father brother uncle grandfather teacher and friend to have him your life.My first encounter with Karl was at Flatlanders where he took beautiful pictures of my daughters for many years. Little did I know how many times Karl will come into my life. Thanks to Karl I am a life member of the Vfw along with my Husband and have a wonderful friend Belinda. may God help you though the next few days. But oh all to memories. Love always Carol Sedlacek-Reynolds
Carol Reynolds
November 11, 2009
I was shocked and deeply saddened when I heard of Senor Crisler's passing. I was a student of his, both Spanish and Journalism, at Marcellus High School. He was a bright spot in my days and could always make me laugh and smile. He wanted the best for his students…diligent, encouraging and supportive in his teachings. He's one of those people that shapes your life without too much effort, by just being himself.

He truly cared and many times acted as the father figure that I didn't have in my life. I learned so much from him. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I am blessed to have known him.

I will miss you, Senor. Descanse en paz.

Con amor,
Molly (Lapham) Klish
November 11, 2009
I'm so glad he was my teacher in High School, I have awesome memories of him. He was an Amazing Person.
Denise Reddish
Denise Reddish
November 11, 2009
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Sabrina Sibley
November 10, 2009
I too took Mr. Crisler's spanish class at Cassopolis High School. It was where I first met him and when he learned that I lived only a block away, he invited me over to meet the rest of his family. The kids, Perry, Patti, Belinda, Camille, Carla and Bryan became my friends. His wife Dora always made you feel at home and welcome. After high school I would always see him at important events, always snapping photos. He will be dearly missed. To his family I send my sincere condolences, and hope.
George Tabbert, Jr.
November 10, 2009
Sitting here in the newsroom at CNN, I think about how much of my career I owe to Señor Crisler. I was fortunate to spend two years learning Spanish with him, and then to work with him on our school newspaper, The Wildcat Beat. The journalism stuck better than the Spanish, but they were both experiences that laid the groundwork for growing into the person that I am today. Señor helped foster a curiosity about the world, an understanding and respect for others, and a joy for life and learning that has greatly influenced me, and that I have relied on over the past 20 years of my life. He was full of life, and it was outwardly obvious that he cared about his work and his students. He was always a bright spot, and I count myself fortunate to have had known him. I will always remember the most important Spanish language phrase he ever taught me (and one that, interestingly enough, I have used most in my life)…Necessito hamburguesa y cerveza, por favor.
Gracias, señor.

Javier (aka Troy McIntyre, Marcellus High School ’92)
Troy McIntyre
November 10, 2009
To the family of Senor Crisler, I was a student of his for a couple of years in Marcellus and he was a great educator and most importantly a great man. I thought about him a few weeks ago when my family and I was in Mexico for vacation and how disappointed he may have been with my Spanish speaking skills, but knowing him he would have chuckled and started to try and help me limp my way through what I was trying to communicate. He was a great man that I respected as a teenager and respected more as I have become an adult. Rest in peace.
Michael Dentler
November 10, 2009
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Senor. He was a great teacher and will live on in many of my high school memories. May my thoughts and prayers be with the family at this time of sorrow.
Angie Rodino (New)
November 10, 2009
My thoughts are with the family in this time of loss. Senor Crisler was one of a handful of excellent teachers that I was fortunate enough to have teach me. He will be missed.

~Paco, then Guido... it took us a year to settle on a name! :)
Jayson Wallace
November 10, 2009
Sorry to hear of Karl's death. He touched so many people here
in Cass County. He will surely be missed, but now he is with his
beloved Dora. God Bless. E. Moore
November 10, 2009
I learned my very first Spanish words in Karl's class as a freshman at Cassopolis High School, which is where I got to know a classmate, who became a good friend, and we stayed in contact until Perri Crisler passed away a few years ago.
I miss Perri in my life, and I'm sure we all will miss Karl. He lived an exciting life, and contributed to the lives of many, including my own.
My heart goes out to the family, and I will say prayers for all the family.
Dave Garwood
Class of 1968
Dave Garwood
November 10, 2009
To the family of Sr. Crisler,

I'm sorry for your loss of a wonderful man. I only had him for a teacher one year and wish I had more time. Whenever I'd see him, we'd speak in Spanish for a few minutes before catching up in English!

Hasta Luego, Senor!

Becki Engstrom
November 10, 2009
Dear Crisler family,
We are sorry for your loss and we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Karl will be missed very much at the COA and it just won't be the same at Christmas.
May all the wonderful memories and pictures you have, give you comfort during this difficult time.
Keeping The Rocks Silent
Luke 19:31-40
Pastor Bill and Bobbie Bruneau
November 10, 2009
What a great man, he will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with your family in this very difficult time.

Renee Peel
Renee Peel
November 10, 2009
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Larry & Peg Etter
November 9, 2009
We are so sorry to learn of Karl's death. Karl was the ultimate "student advocate".....everything he did, he did for the benefit of the students. His legacy will live on, and many, many Marcellus students learned to love the Spanish culture because of Senor. We'll miss his wit and his dedication. Tally and John Orange
Tally and John Orange
November 9, 2009
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