While many of us were getting the favorite family dishes out on the table Thanksgiving Day, one of COSI families were unexpectedly and shockingly going through the loss of the family patriarch, David Castle, Sr. Felled by a sudden heart attack, the Castle family day went from joy to tragedy with his death. With shock the rest of us found out during the course of the day by text messages and e-mails we picked up—creating an awkward internal tension between our personal joys and gratitude on Thanksgiving and our sense of personal grief and the unconscionable anguish we knew the Castle family had been thrust into.
At COSI, even though we are a $15 million “business”, we have retained a family feel from the early days of a handful of dedicated individuals creating the COSI tradition at the old location on East Broad Street. “Castle” as I learned to call him, was one of those people, starting as a long time volunteer over 20 years ago at our original location. He moved over to be a key member of the team keeping up with our “new” 320,000 square foot facility on West Broad St. He was internally a well known, albeit quiet, part of our COSI family of team members dedicated to serving the public.
Castle was an amazing, wonderful and unique person who took pride in going above and beyond to take care of us and this building. People like that are becoming increasingly rare in this day and age.
Our frontline team saw that side of Castle every day. I didn’t get to understand that fully until we had the dilemma of a concrete faced building getting increasingly dirty with no funds to clean it.
Castle and his supervisor, Rodger Schaefer, offered to fit in the cleaning of the building alongside all their other work! I don’t have time to do the math—but think of the amount of surface area to 158 concrete panels facing a signature building over three stories high, with a continuous curved cement face. (One illustrating fact is that the 960-foot wall is longer than three football fields laid end to end or 110 feet longer than New York City’s Rockefeller Center is tall.) It’s a daunting task to even consider, but it didn’t seem to faze Castle and his comrade-in-arms volunteering to take it on.
I marveled at Castle and Rodger, who through five months of varying weather—from hot and blazing to cold and windy, hoisted themselves almost daily high into the air on a lift to clean the grime off COSI with a high powered washer. I love the picture of Castle blasting off the last block of black dirt that had threatened to ingrain itself forever into our huge concrete façade. That is the visual memory of Castle which will stick with me the most.
From what I’m told by his closest friends on our COSI team, Castle brought an attitude of "Get R Done" to something like that challenge of having our building present itself outside with the same quality of our #1 ranked science experience inside. And “Get R Done” he did.
So when you next visit COSI, look up at the gleaming concrete face and know the dedication of a special team member, now lost way too young to his wife, kids, and grandkids and to his COSI family. Castle, you will be sorely missed and never replaced.
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