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John E.H. ‘Jack’ Cassens

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
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John E.H. 'Jack' Cassens

STERLING – Well-known community leader and businessman, John E.H. “Jack” Cassens, 85, of Sterling, died Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.

He was born Jan. 8, 1928, in Sterling, the son of John A. and Gertrude (Strauch) Cassens. He had attended the University of Illinois and was a lifelong loyal Sigma Phi. He married Lois I. Kelsey on May 20, 1948, in Sterling. She died on Feb. 10, 2011. Early in his career, he farmed, and later also owned and was operator of Whiteside Grain and Storage in Rock Falls. In 1972, he built, owned and operated the Rock Falls Ramada Inn and Canal House restaurant.

He served on the Whiteside County Board from 1968 to 1982, of which time he was County Board chairman from 1974 to 1982. He served on the Whiteside County Airport Board from 1983 to 2012. He served on the Blackhawk Area Tourism Committee and the Greater Sterling Development Corporation. He was instrumental to, and on the committee to begin, the Whiteside County Enterprise Zone. He was a founder and board member of Community State Bank in Rock Falls. He was a 43-year member of the board of directors of Palmyra Mutual Insurance Co. He was a recipient in 1988 of the P.W. Dillon Award, presented by the Sterling Chamber of Commerce. He was active in local, state and federal politics. 

Survivors include his son, Gary (Patti Kieffer) Cassens of Sterling; his daughter, Laurie (Tom) Myers of Rock Falls; his sister, Jane (Bob) Hampton of Sterling; his grandson, Craig Mayer of Peoria; and longtime family friend, Patsy McThenia of Rock Falls.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lois; his son, Dr. Brett Cassens M.D.; and a sister in infancy.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at McDonald Funeral Home, 1002 12th Ave., Rock Falls. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sterling, with the Rev. Mark Oehlert officiating. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Sterling.

Memorials may be made to St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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