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Harold "John" Casper

November 24, 1948 June 16, 2024
Harold "John" Casper
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Obituary for Harold "John" Casper

Harold “John” Casper, 75, passed away unexpectedly from natural causes in Springwater, N.Y., on Sunday, June 16, 2024.

John was born in Batavia, N.Y., on Nov. 24, 1948, to the late Nancy (Carroll) and Harold Casper. He was the second oldest of four and named after his father, but went by the middle name “John.” He grew up on a dairy farm in Batavia and graduated from Byron-Bergen Central School in 1967 where he participated in FFA and was a star member of the Wrestling team.

John enlisted in the United States Navy in 1973. Following his first year of training in the states, he was stationed in Rota, Spain where he was an aviation and electronics technician on the P-3 aircraft. He was a 2nd class petty officer when he retired from the service in 1979. John loved to tell stories from his Navy days, especially his chance at “running with the bulls.”

Upon returning to the states, John bought a home in Byron, N.Y. There he ran into a sweet girl he had dated in high school. When he married Janet Ivison in 1980, he became an instant stepfather to her two children (6 year old Kelly and 2 ½ year old Keith). A year later, their son Jesse was born and the following year, their daughter Jodee was born. John went from single guy to full house in just 3 short years!

After working as a machine operator with LeRoy Machine Company, a cable installer for Greater Rochester Cablevision, and a carpenter with Jim Comins Construction for about 10 years, John decided to go back to school and hone his woodworking skills. He graduated from Genesee Community College in 1989 with an A.A.S. degree in Industrial Model-Making (specializing in drafting, design, and engineering). John got a job at East Pattern & Model Corporation in Rochester, N.Y., and worked there for over 25 years when he retired in 2016.

Retired life suited John well. He was finally able to do all the fishing, hunting, tinkering, visiting and relaxing he truly deserved. In the early 2000s, John purchased property in Springwater, N.Y., near Hemlock Lake and spent countless hours setting up his own private oasis. Camp was his happy place and – while he cherished his alone time there – he loved hosting friends and family and showing them around. The open road and fishing lakes were his friends, as well. John loved cruising on his Harley and taking trips around the water on his infamous boat “Ram-A-Dock.” He enjoyed playing cards and games with family and friends. John most looked forward to his annual trips with his grandson, son, son-in-law and any friends who could join him for a guys long weekend fishin’ trip to the Thousand Islands over the Father's Day holiday. He also looked forward to annual summer visits from his Colorado family members and everyone getting together all day, every day for a whole week or more. Just being with loved ones was John’s most favorite pastime.

For the past 25 years, Pha Pha has been his name. Perfectly coined by his firstborn grandchild with an accidental but memorable mispronunciation of “grandpa,” everyone knew John as “Pha Pha.” Friends, relatives, co-workers, and probably even the mailman (as we always addressed his holiday cards that way), we all called him Pha Pha. He was the epitome of a Pha Pha. What’s a Pha Pha you ask?

A Pha Pha is someone who loves unconditionally. Someone who gives more than he takes. Someone who listens more than he talks. Who sits back and observes the world. A sponge of knowledge. Someone who lives on “Camp Time.” Who teaches you – by example – how to slow down and enjoy life. To enjoy nature. To enjoy family. To tenderly and carefully prepare a hearty meal full of love (even his fruit salads were exquisitely and delicately made). To work hard and stay humble. A Pha Pha is a quiet cheerleader from the sidelines. He is a Bills Fan who paces the room during stressful football games and continues to root for them year after year. A Pha Pha adores his children, grandchildren, pets & grand-pets, relatives and friends. He is a gentle soul. A loyal friend. A Pha Pha is always there. A Pha Pha is sorely missed when he is no longer physically present with us.

John is survived by his children, Jesse Casper of Brighton, N.Y., Jodee (Brian) DiSanto of Walworth, N.Y., Kelly (Jason) Burghart of La Salle, Colo., and Keith (Daysha) Littlefield of Aurora, Colo.; his beloved grandchildren, Carlos DiSanto, Brianna DiSanto, Alayna Burghart, Dwayne Littlefield, Logan Burghart, and John Littlefield; his sisters, Bev Garlipp of The Villages, Fla., Becky (Bernie) Allen of Elba, N.Y.; his brother, Charley Casper of Batavia, N.Y.; several brothers- and sisters-in-law, numerous nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Nancy Casper; his wife, Janet Casper; and his faithful companion dog, Ace, who never left his side.

A Celebration of Life will be held in late July. Arrangements will be shared via Facebook.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family in his memory for distribution to charities that shared in his passions. These charities include: Pets for Patriots (Unleashing hope for veterans and shelter animals), Lollypop Farm: Humane Society of Greater Rochester, Verona Street Animal Society, and Rescued Treasures Pet Adoptions.

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