In Memoriam: David Lawrence Casbon (1940–2021)

I was saddened this past weekend to learn of Dave Casbon’s passing. He was my first cousin, once removed, one of my father’s only three first cousins.

Dave and I corresponded a fair amount over many years because of our shared interest in Casbon family history. We had some good conversations about our history and Dave filled in some details that I didn’t have.

I have happy recollections of Dave from my infrequent childhood visits to Valparaiso and the Casbon Electric store there. In recent years, when I travelled to “Valpo” to do research, I would usually meet Dave for breakfast or lunch.

Dave liked to post on Facebook. He had an avid interest in Porter County History. He was also a talented cartoon artist. Most of all, he loved his family and he loved University of Michigan sports.

(Left) “The Arrows” in concert; Dave is playing sax on the right; (Right) Dave (right) and friends at Casbon Electric Company; images are from Dave’s Facebook page

(Left) Dave and Harden; they were married 17 October 1961; (Right) One of Dave’s cartoons; images are from Dave’s Facebook page

I’ve been given permission to share this obituary, written by his daughter Carissa. We will miss you Dave.

David L. Casbon, 80, of Valparaiso, Indiana passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 10th at his home, surrounded by his family. Dave was born May 21, 1940 in Valparaiso, IN, to Lynnet M. Casbon and Alice B. Casbon. Dave is preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Harden, and his sister Mary Benninghoff. He is survived by his four daughters: Tacy (Peter) Borgman, Wendy Casbon, Carissa Casbon (Larry LaTourette) and Erin (Christopher) Sachse; his grandchildren: Stephanie (Caylin) Younger, Elizabeth Borgman, Samuel LaTourette, Lillian LaTourette, Alexander Sachse, and Kate Sachse. He is also survived by his niece, Julie Trager, nephew, Steven Benninghoff and many wonderful friends and extended family members.

Dave was born and raised in Valpo and graduated from Valparaiso High School in 1958. While in high school, he played saxophone in the rock band Leroy Bowman and the Arrows. The band recorded two singles, “Graveyard” and “Uh huh,” both of which are still available on major streaming services.

Dave attended the University of Michigan, where he became a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and served on the Michigan Student Government Board. He earned his degree in Business Administration from U of M in 1962, but remained a lifelong Wolverine fan. During his senior year at Michigan, he married the love of his life, Harden Walton Freeman.

He and Harden returned to Valparaiso after college, where he worked at his family’s business, Casbon Electric Company. Under his direction, Casbon’s became a pioneer in technology, becoming the first store in Northern Indiana to sell VCRs. Dave trained and taught himself about personal computers, helping Portage Schools become computerized. He was also instrumental in helping the Porter County Sheriff’s Department create one of the first server-based PC networks in county government.

Dave was a pillar of the community, serving in leadership roles in a multitude of community organizations. He served as the President of the United Way, President of the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Indiana, President of the Valparaiso Merchants Association, and Director of the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. He was named to the Action Council of the National Federation of Independent Businesses representing the needs of small businesses across the country. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Valparaiso Rotary Club, an arbitrator, a Scottish Rite Master of the Order of Demolay, a member of the Saturday Evening Club, and an enthusiastic contributor to the Porter County Historical Museum.

Dave was one of the founding members of the Kankakee Valley Job Training Program that has positively impacted the lives of thousands and eventually became the Indiana Center of Workforce Innovations, on whose board he served until a few months ago. In his capacity as Chair of the Kankakee Valley Job Training Program (a private industry council), he also served as Chair of the State Association of Private Industry Council Chairs. The Kankakee Valley Job Training Program was so extraordinary, it was one of 10 private industry councils in the nation selected for a United States Department of Labor study on exemplary Private Industry Councils in 1991.

Dave won several awards for his public service contributions, including the Outstanding Director Award from the Northwest Indiana Better Business Bureau and the Dorothy M. Porter Award in recognition of “his unique commitment to the principles of volunteerism and service above self-service.”

By far though, Dave’s proudest achievement was his four girls, Tacy, Wendy, Carissa and Erin, their husbands, Peter, Larry, and Christopher, and his six grandchildren, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Samuel, Lillian, Alexander and Kate. In fact, one time, when the family traveled to Washington, D.C. so Dave could speak with lawmakers about the Kankakee Valley Private Industry Council, he blew off a small audience with President Ronald Reagan so he could sightsee with his family. Dave attended every single play, concert, event and game in which any of his four girls participated. His girls will miss his advice, his love, and his wicked sense of humor.

Visitation is Thursday, April 15th from 4:00-7:00 PM at Bartholomew Funeral Home, 102 Monroe Street, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Funeral services are Friday, April 16th at 12:00 PM at the First Christian Church, 1507 E. Glendale Boulevard, Valparaiso, IN 46383. There will be an interment service immediately following the funeral at Graceland Cemetery, Valparaiso. Per the family’s request, masking and social distancing protocols will be observed at these events. Masks will be provided, should you need one. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the United Way of Porter County, Indiana.

6 thoughts on “In Memoriam: David Lawrence Casbon (1940–2021)”

  1. I will always remember Dave taking my husband and I for a ride around Valpo and showing us the Casbon gravestones and farm land. Also for the history of his family. Claudia Eldridge Vokoun

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