- Special Sections
Aug 29, 1929-Oct. 27, 2012
Episcopal priest, coach, community organizer, store owner, actor, and lifelong champion for peace and justice, Robert Castle died on Sunday, October 27, 2012 of natural causes. "Bobby" was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the only child to Freda and Robert W. Castle.
Bobby attended St. Lawrence University where he was named an All American Quarterback. He married Nancy Thomas in 1952. He went on to attend divinity school at Berkley/Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. After divinity school he became the rector of St. Andrews Episcopal church in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. He lead the community in the construction of a new church and established two other congregations in neighboring communities. In 1962 he became on to be rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Jersey City, New Jersey. That year he was named one of the Top Outstanding Young Men in America. Father Castle was active in the anti Vietnam war and civil rights movement at a community and national level throughout the 1960's even connecting with members of the Black Panther Party.
In 1971 the Castle family moved to the old farm house and land on Mead Hill in Holland. Bob and Nancy opened the East Charleston Country Store while he served as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Island Pond and St. Mark's Episcopal Church In Newport. Bob also coached football for many years at North Country Union High School and worked part-time for Northeast Kingdom Mental Health. In 1983 Father Castle became Director of Brookehaven Home for Boys in Chelsea for three years before returning to his urban roots went he moved to New York. He served on the staff of Holy Trinity and provided outreach work for The Coalition for the Homeless. Reverend Castle was called to serve as Rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Harlem in 1987.
Bob married Kate Betsch in 1987. The early 1990's was a time when Bobby was reacquainted with his cousin director Jonathan Demme who helped launch Bobby's movie career after completing the documentary Cousin Bobby. He had a number of short appearances in films with most notable roles in Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married.
Father Castle retired as a full time priest in 2000 and retuned to Mead Hill Farm in Holland to be close to his family and share the land and home with them and many others. He stayed active by serving Christ Church in Stanstead and other area churches. He also remained resolute in his convictions for peace and justice and faithful to protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He leaves behind his wife Kate; daughter Jane, her three children and son-in-law Norm Lanman; son Paul and daughter-in-law Carol and their three children; son John and daughter-in-law Jill and two children; seven great-grandchildren and step children William and Emily Betsch.
A memorial service will be held at Mead Hill Farm in Holland at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the St. Mark's food shelf at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 44 Second Street, Newport, VT 05855.