John E. Kasten, 94
May 11, 1920 -- March 31, 2015
John E. Kasten, aged 94, of West Bend, passed away quietly at The Kathy Hospice on March 31, 2015. He was born May 11, 1920, on a farm near Kiel, to the late John C. and Amanda (nee Krueger) Kasten. On Oct. 9, 1943, John was united in marriage to Jacqueline Johnson in Milwaukee.
John attended school in Kiel where he acquired a love of music and especially the clarinet. Following service in the U.S. Navy from 1944-46, his ambition led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Marquette University in June 1951. Upon graduation, he moved to West Bend and in 1952 purchased a business in Allenton. The business expanded as Kasten Manufacturing Corp. to employ more than 100 people in the manufacture of self-unloading forage boxes, forage blowers, wagon gears, manure spreaders and other farm equipment, as well as ice cube-transfer bins and a fast-coupling hitch for snow plows. The business closed in 1985. His innovations, as shown by his many patents, contributed to the utility of the company’s products.
John was a founding member of Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Bend. He served as the church’s first president and as chairman of the first building committee. He remained a faithful member throughout his life. He later worked closely with the church’s architects to design his unique home in West Bend.
John is director emeritus of the West Bend Saving Bank and a former director of the Allenton State Bank, the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and Enger-Kress Co. of West Bend. He is a past member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, the West Bend Country Club, the Management Resources Association, the Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers & Commerce and the National Ice Association.
Having declared that he had no “rocking chair aspirations,” John was always an industrious and creative problem solver. He did the “right thing” even when it was not the easy thing. He attributed his strong ethical sense to the high moral standards of his childhood home and the lasting impression made by the Rev. Worthmann and the Reformed Church in Kiel.
He and his wife enjoyed worldwide travel throughout their 68 years together. One of his favorite, if more local, trips were visits to Kiel to see the children (and their children) of his older brothers and sisters. Always a gracious and generous host, he was delighted to host dinners and to have his living room full of family, friends and music. He will be deeply missed by all of them.
He is survived and sadly missed by two children, Toni (William) Bauman and David (Marilyn) Kasten, both of West Bend; son-in-law, Charles Susmilch of Madison; six grandchildren, Ami (Manuel) de Joya, Christian Bauman, Anne (Greg) Chism, Tim Fellenz, Michael (Michaelle) Kasten and Craig (Ashly) Kasten; seven great-grandchildren, Evan and Megan de Joya, Aidan and Rebecca Bauman, Aaron Hilgers and Cooper and Croix Kasten.
John was saddened to be preceded in death by his wife, Jacqueline and his daughter, Barbara Kasten, as well as by nine brothers and sisters.
Funeral services in remembrance of John will be held Monday, April 6, at 1:30 p.m. at Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church, 462 Meadowbrook Drive, West Bend. The Rev. Joseph Fisher and the Rev. Christopher Raffa will officiate. Visitation will be at the church from 11:30 a.m. until the time of the service. Entombment will follow in Washington County Memorial Park.
Memorials to Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church Endowment Fund or The Kathy Hospice would be welcome.
Special thanks are extended to the amazingly skilled staffs at ComForcare Senior Services, Froedtert Hospital and The Kathy Hospice.
Myrhum-Patten Funeral and Cremation Service is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.myrhum-patten.com.