Saturday, March 2, 2019
2:00 PM EST
VFW Post 7956
13540 West M-96
Augusta, MI 49012
Life Story / Obituary
Danny Lee Castle
Danny Lee Castle was born April 30, 1953, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the son of Glenn and Irene (Cothran) Castle. Danny grew up the “baby” of a tight-knit family of six children on Rosemont in Galesburg. His childhood also included his very special “sister/cousin,” Colleen. He graduated from Galesburg-Augusta High School in 1971.
Danny literally marched to the beat of his own drummer, living an unconventional life on his own terms. As a young man, he devoted his life to the care of his ailing mother after losing his father at the young age of 17. He also lived with and cared for his brother, Butch, a disabled Vietnam veteran, for many years.
Danny liked to tell folks he studied at the University of Honky-Tonks, Dives and Biker Bars, where he could often be found playing as a member of the band. Music was Danny’s language, his vocation and his greatest joy. He played in several regional and local bands throughout the years including North Country, Upland Express, Barker’s Castle, and JAG Band among others. He was happiest picking his guitar and jamming with his many friends singing the tunes of his favorite artists like John Prine, Willie Nelson and countless others. In 1974, Danny composed the song, “Michigan Again,” which was later recorded by Rutzy Leonard and the Morrow River Gang on WOW records in 1978.
On May 19, 2001, Danny married the love of his life –Dana Hetrick- whom he affectionately referred to as “Angel.” Danny and Dana were inseparable throughout their nearly 18-years of marriage. Spending most of their married life in Vicksburg, they were part of a large circle of friends and family that really enjoyed playing music and just spending quality time together. For their last anniversary, Dan had a special ring made for Dana and inscribed it with his personal words of endearment for his Angel, “always in all ways.”
Dana brought three children to Danny’s life. Dan enjoyed parenting most especially in the years when he became a “grampy.”
An avid reader, Dan loved books of all genres and shared that love with his grandchildren. He was also a master gardener who cultivated beautiful flowers and spent hours each summer canning his home grown vegetables for the long Michigan winters. Christmas was Dan’s favorite holiday and he enjoyed decorating with his large collection of Americana plastic Santas, making candy and special meals and spending time with family and friends.
On his 65th birthday, Danny was diagnosed with a very rare type of bile duct cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. He fought hard to enjoy the remaining days of his life – far exceeding the short life expectancy he had been given. Even during his final days in-home hospice, Danny astonished the medical professionals with his strength and determination. Never one to fit a mold, he also completed his last earthly act on his own terms. He took his last breath just a minute after his great-nephew, Joshua Daniel arrived in this world.
After receiving his diagnosis, Danny was committed to fighting, defying the odds and enjoying every moment. During his final year, he and Dana visited Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Luckenbach, Texas, as well as Clearwater, Florida to hear great artists and see famous music venues. He spent his remaining precious hours with friends and families making each day count.
Danny’s legacy will be the many ways he showed his family and friends the value of living life on your own terms, keeping a song in your heart and demonstrating that love and kindness are by far the most important and richest traits a person can possess. Danny’s life was centered on love, life-long friendships and enjoyment.
Danny began his celebration in the afterlife on February 24, 2019, reuniting with his parents and brothers, William Castle and Carl “Butch” Castle. We are certain his mother is singing, “Danny Boy,” and there is a helleva a jam session at the local honky tonk.
Danny is survived by his loving wife, Dana Hetrick Castle and children Angela (Kevin Dockerty) Peck, of Schoolcraft; Elizabeth (Tyler) Cheesebro of Virginia Beach, Va. and Jake (Haley) Ross of Ooltewah, TN. He was affectionately known as Grampy to: Rilley, Lillian and Serie Briggs; Mason and Peyton Ross and Graham and Fynn Cheesebro.
Danny is also survived by three siblings, Larry Castle of Florida, Susan (Robert) Eaton of Portage, Mary (Bruce) Edmonson of Parchment; 2 sisters-in-law, Janis (John) Castle-Dodge of Mason, MI and Linda Castle of Galesburg; a very special cousin, Colleen (Dennis) Ocker of Grand Rapids; several special nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as a large circle of friends.
A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the VFW Post 7956, 13540 West M-96, Augusta, MI at 2 p.m. A memorial wake will be held later this summer. Play on Danny, play on.
The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697).