Jerome (“Jerry”) Kasten passed away peacefully Feb. 17, 2021. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Deanna; three children: Jennifer Cohen, Ruth Joseph and Andrew Kasten; and five grandchildren: Harrison Joseph, Spencer Joseph, Coco Cohen, Eli Kasten and Samuel Kasten.
Jerry was born Dec. 16, 1932, in the Bronx, New York, the youngest of three boys. Before graduating from high school, he helped collect money and weapons for an Israeli relief organization for Israel’s War of Independence. Upon graduation, he worked at The Associated Press as a news features assistant and also joined the New York National Guard. He enlisted in military service by way of Army Photo School in Monmouth, New Jersey, and was later stationed at Korea as a staff photographer. Upon completion of service, he attended the University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin, where he met Deanna and received his B.A. in History; he received his master’s in history at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Jerry had a deep respect and love for nature and wildlife conservation, writing his master’s thesis on Early Wildlife Policy of Yellowstone National Park, culminating in the establishment of the National Park Service. Jerry served as park ranger during several summers at Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Mammoth Cave National Parks. In more recent years, he returned to serve as volunteer ranger during the summers.
As an educator, he taught American Government and History in DISD for over 30 years, completing his educational career at Hillcrest High School. He also coached swimming, diving and cross-country running. During his early days of teaching, he joined the Dallas Police Reserve. He was teaching at the time of JFK’s assassination and was on reserve duty at the time Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald — notably, rushing to secure the door swung ajar on the armored truck that transported Oswald.
Jerry was proud of his faith, his country and his family. In later years, he continued to teach, write articles for the Texas Jewish Post, take photographs and volunteer with several organizations, including the Jewish War Veterans, Korean War Veterans and the Dallas Ambassadors for DFW Airport.
A funeral service was held Feb. 21 at Sparkman/Hillcrest Cemetery. The family suggests contributions go to: The National Park Foundation (nationalparks.org) and/or Temple Shalom.