William M. Kasper
Col. William M. Kasper died of cancer while surrounded by family and friends June 14 at his home in Carbondale. He was 88. Kasper grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1940, just a few days before he married Jacqueline Prichard. He then served 23 years in the Army and fought in World War II and the Korean War. Kasper became a full colonel when he was 38 and will be remembered for his integrity.
“It was just amazing how the men under him loved him and respected him and looked up to him,” said his wife of 65 years, Jacqueline Kasper. Kasper earned a Silver Star for bravery and four Bronze Stars, in addition to a Purple Heart. He was honored for liberating the town of Barr, France, during World War II, but kept his honors and awards private.”He never made a big deal out of any of that,” Jacqueline Kasper said. “He didn’t make anything public – he’d say, ‘I was just doing my duty.’ “
Because of his military career, Kasper and his family moved 33 times in 25 years, including a stint in Aspen in 1960. He retired permanently to Carbondale in 1988. He enjoyed skiing, mountain climbing, horseback riding, gardening and watching his children and grandchildren play sports. He will be remembered for his remarkable intelligence and quick wit.”He made his whole family smile and laugh,” Jacqueline Kasper said. “It used to worry me terribly when he had to give briefings and talks in the Army and he’d make jokes.”
He spent his last days smiling and laughing with family and old friends. His children count him as both a father and a best friend.”I went through 52 years of my life with him and I never had any complaints,” said daughter Betty Severy. “He always brightened my day.”Kasper was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Chuck Severy, and grandson, Christopher Severy. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline and his four children, Bill Kasper, Lewis Kasper, Robin Wood and Betty Severy. Other survivors include 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.A celebration of Kasper’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at his home, 128 Ronce Lane, in Carbondale.