Cover photo for Dr. James Garland Caster's Obituary
Dr. James Garland Caster Profile Photo

Dr. James Garland Caster

April 29, 1928 — July 19, 2022

Dr. James Garland Caster

Dr. James Garland Caster, Jr., answered the final beckoning, full of years and honors, and went to join his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Church Triumphant in God's Heavenly Kingdom on July 19, 2022.Dr. Caster was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, citizen-soldier, public servant, lawyer, professional educator, author, public speaker and ardent American patriot. He was born on April 29, 1928, to James Garland Caster, Sr., and Willie Carl (Bullard) Caster in El Reno, Oklahoma, where his parents sought medical attention for the birth. James Sr. was a barber and Willie was a seamstress and housewife residing in Carnegie, Oklahoma.Caster grew up in Carnegie during the Great Depression. He attended Carnegie Public Schools, worked as a newspaper delivery boy, a shoeshine boy in his father's barbershop, and during World War II as a part-time motion picture projectionist because the men were in the service. He spent the better part of the 1944-45 school year in Midwest City as the chief projectionist at the Skytrain Theater. Returning to Carnegie for his Senior year, Caster played trumpet in the high school band, wrote the high school news and sports section for the Carnegie Herald, under the by-line J. Garland Caster, and had a role in the Senior class play.Caster graduated with the Carnegie High School class of 1946. At commencement he delivered the valedictory address for the class and performed a spirited rendition of Chopin's "Military Polonaise" on the piano. To be valedictorian, young Jim Caster had to win a tough four-year-long academic competition with a most worthy rival. He would relish the memory of those two notable achievements for the remainder of his days.Most of Caster's adult life was happily spent in various academic endeavors. He earned four college degrees: a B.A. in History and Juris Doctor in law from O.U., a B.A. in Geology from Oklahoma City University, and a Ph.D. in History and Political Science from the University of New Mexico. From 1946 to 1956, with a two-year break for military duty in the Korean War, he attended both Law School and Graduate School at O.U. He worked as a projectionist in the Norman theaters, was active in campus politics as a student senator for 3½ years, president of the O.U. History Club, a member of the O.U. American Legion post and active in the League of Young Democrats. He played in the O.U. Marching Band and the ROTC Band and fondly remembers banqueting with big band leader Harry James, the great trumpeter. In 1958, as 5th District Young Democrats chairman, he participated in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the advent of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, an event attended by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and former president Harry Truman. An ardent O.U. football fan since 11 years of age, throughout his life Caster thrilled when the Big Red triumphed and died a little when they fell. He had proudly shaken the hands of coaches Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops.After the completion of all requirements except the dissertation for the Ph.D. in History and Political Science at the University of New Mexico, Caster joined the History faculty at Oklahoma City University in 1964. He enjoyed five happy years at OCU, the last two as chairman of the department. He taught courses in U.S. History and American Government, organized and sponsored the OCU History club, sponsored the OCU Chapter of the Order of Kappa Alpha, and established several scholarships for students. He was richly blessed to be associated with a clutch of brilliant students who performed superbly on the national graduate history examination. First among that distinguished group was Vincent Marmorale of Brooklyn, N.Y., who became a life­long friend and confidant.In 1969 Caster completed his doctoral dissertation under the direction of the eminent scholar Dr. Donald C. Cutter, and was awarded the Ph.D. degree. Central State College - later the University of Central Oklahoma - soon made him a financial offer he could not refuse and he joined the Political Science faculty there. The UCO Political Science Department proved to be the ideal situation for him to nurture his interests and develop his professional career. He became closely associated with the long-time chairman, Professor Leroy Crozier. Through the years he was sometimes requested to fill the role of eulogist at the funerals of friends and associates. He had the touch and could artfully encapsulate the essential features of a noteworthy life into a succinct and meaningful narrative. Each one was different and he always labored diligently to get things just right for the deceased and the family.He taught courses on American National Government, U.S. Constitutional Law, several other law subjects, and occasionally offered a seminar titled Espionage and Military Intelligence in the Modern State. Also, for two decades he taught the military history course for the UCO ROTC programs. Caster ran the Bureau of Governmental Services which helped small towns codify their municipal ordinances and brought notable national speakers to UCO. He conducted political polls for state legislators and political candidates and oversaw student internships with state agencies. As UCO Pre-Law advisor he was very active in the process of getting students into the state's law schools. He sponsored the Pre-Law Club, the UCO Young Democrats and for 3 years the 300-strong Nigerian Student Union. He published over two dozen articles in learned journals and one instructor's manual for a well-known American Government textbook. He retired in 1992 at the rank of full professor.Following his retirement, he was honored by a reception by the State Senate and was allowed to address the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Governor David Walters proclaimed a Dr. James G. Caster Day throughout the state.After retirement from UCO, Caster continued to teach part-time (adjunct) at OSU-OKC and Redlands Community College. He taught until he was 85 years old and assisted in obtaining pay raises for all adjunct instructors at both institutions.Outside the cloistered halls of academe, Dr. Caster built a solid record of public service to his beloved Sooner State by serving on five different state boards and committees, appointed by elected officials from both political parties. He began as Secretary of the Legislative State Ethics Commission; participated for 8½ years on the Public Employees Relation Board, 5 years as chairman; served a term on the Oklahoma State War Veterans Commission; worked several years on the State Capitol Centennial Celebration Commission; and was an historical adviser to the Oklahoma State Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.Caster was an enthusiastic "joiner" and graciously devoted much time and effort to organizations he considered worthy of support. For 43 years he was the Editor-Historian of the Oklahoma City Civil War Round Table. From 1973 through 2015, he led the UCO Conclave of the Ancient and Beneficent Order of the Red Red Rose. A devoted long-time member of the Oklahoma American Legion Boys State operation, he served as Director of the program from 1988 through 1998, and with the hard work and assistance of many staffers was justly proud that the enrollment was increased from 525 at the start to 815 at the end and that two Boys Nation Presidents came from Oklahoma Boys State during the period.James was married to three remarkable ladies. They were: Edna Joyce Norris (married in 1958 - died in 1992); Sherry Darlene Chlouber, of Carnegie (married in 1995 - died in 2000); and his surviving wife, Phyllis A. Springer, whom he married in 2002. He adopted three children, all of whom survive him. They are: Caroline Jeanne Harwood of Edmond; Victoria Anne Snider of Antlers; and James William Smith of Oklahoma City.Caster was a member of several organizations and received numerous honors and awards. Of the latest, he had particularly cherished three: the naming of him as Editor-Historian Emeritus by the OKC Civil War round table; the establishment of the annual Dr. James G. Caster Scholarship awarded to the outstanding pre-law student by the Political Science department of the University of Central Oklahoma; and the establishment of the annual Dr. James G. Caster Civil War History Symposium by Randall University at Moore, OK by Professor Steve Byas.Please join the family before the service at 12:00pm for a reception at St. Luke's United Methodist Church.
To order memorial trees in memory of Dr. James Garland Caster, please visit our tree store.

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Smith & Kernke Funeral Home (N. May)

14624 North May Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, July 29, 2022

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

OK

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree

Send a Card

Send a Card