Leo John Casey of Charlottesville, VA passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2023 at the age of 97. Born in 1926 in Faribault, MN, he was the son of Charles and Katherine Casey. He was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Claire Helen Casey in 2021, and his sister, Colleen Rose Maguire in 2003. He is survived by his three children, Shelagh Casey (Ron) Brown, Ellen (Paul) Wagner, and Daniel Casey, and eight grandchildren: Kerry (Steve Konyar), Patrick, and Michael Casey, Katie Rose Brown; and Casey, Frances Claire, Danny, and Mary Colleen Wagner.
Upon graduation from Bethlehem Academy in 1943, Leo joined the Navy. Under the Navy College Training Program, he attended St. Mary’s College and, as part of the NROTC, the University of Colorado. He was commissioned as an Ensign in October of 1945. He was assigned to the Port Director’s force at Apra Harbor in Guam serving until July, 1946.
After service in Guam, he moved to Reserve status in the Navy and in 1946 enrolled at the College of St. Thomas (now University) in St. Paul, MN. After graduating in 1948 with a BA in Business and Economics, he joined the sales department of Burroughs Company. Based first in Minneapolis, Leo regularly crisscrossed his Midwest sales territory until moving to Washington, DC for a couple of years near the end of the Truman administration.
In 1953 he joined the Prudential Insurance Company in Minneapolis. That same year he met his future wife, Claire Helen McKallor, at the Edyth Bush Theater where they were both on stage in The Best Time to Love. Following their marriage on April 24, 1954, Leo and Claire lived first in St. Paul, then in Bloomington where their three children were born, and then in Long Lake, MN where Leo served on the town council.
In 1969, Prudential invited Leo to join the emerging field of computer programming for their Group Systems department, based in New Jersey. Leo took a leading role in the development of modern claims tracking systems that were more efficient and cost effective, rising to the position of Director of Group Systems.
With their move to Basking Ridge, NJ, Leo and Claire forged many lifelong friendships and enjoyed the countless sporting, music, and theater events in which their children participated. Parenting teenagers in the 1970s wasn’t easy, but Leo and Claire made a great team. Although possessing a stentorian voice, Leo more typically maintained household order with a raised eyebrow.
Upon retirement in 1986, Leo and Claire moved to Charlottesville, VA, where they took full advantage of the rich array of cultural and social opportunities. They were especially active in their church, St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish. Leo was a dedicated volunteer serving in many roles, including as a member of the Finance Council for close to ten years and as President of the Parish Council for two terms. His work with the Building and Grounds committee heavily involved him in the construction of the new parish church building in 1995. But his favorite volunteer work was serving as a Reader at Mass which he did for many decades. Leo is remembered by many in the St. Thomas community for his sonorous voice and clear, compelling delivery.
Leo will always be remembered by friends and family for his dry, sly wit, and his (often eye-rolling) puns; his ability to solve the daily crossword puzzle and the Sunday Times puzzle in one sitting (in ink!); and his enthusiasm for Lawrence Welk, Sunday drives, knowledge of every inch of Albemarle County, and his annual ritual to see his favorite azalea blooms.
Leo had a deep love of travel and he and Claire thoroughly enjoyed the numerous travel opportunities that retirement brought, including trips to Ireland and river cruises in Europe. He loved all things Irish including his genealogical research. Growing up in Minnesota, Leo was an avid follower of the University of Minnesota‘s football team the Golden Gophers. He quite fondly remembered his neighborhood friend, Bruce Smith, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy with the Golden Gophers in 1941.
Leo’s greatest love and the center of his life was his family. He cherished family gatherings, delighting in every grandchild and every milestone achieved by his children and grandchildren. He will be missed terribly, but will always be there in our hearts and memories – our irreplaceable patriarch.
The family is deeply grateful to Dr. Lindsay Friesen for her many years of excellent and compassionate care. Though the relationship with Hospice of the Piedmont was brief, their care of Leo is greatly appreciated. The family also wants to thank the caregivers from Home Instead for their compassion and good cheer, especially Tommye Gadol who was his primary caregiver for several years and a good and loyal friend.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 30, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, 201 First Street, Charlottesville, VA. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, August 31 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville. A reception at the Church will follow, before the 2:00 p.m. burial at Monticello Memory Gardens, 670 Thomas Jefferson Parkway. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish (401 Alderman Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903), or to a charity of your choice.
Condolences may be shared with the family at hillandwood.com.