Jack Blanton Caskey
Jack Blanton Caskey, Jr. was born on a hot August morning in Memphis TN. Five years later when he should have gone to kindergarten, his mother kept him home because she could “…not think of giving my baby boy up so soon. I want him home with me for another year.”
He graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville TN, served in the U.S. Navy for two years and attended Southwestern College in Memphis for premed courses before entering medical school at the University of Tennessee. He was proud of his admission to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for the four-year obstetrics and gynecology residency program.
His professional life was profoundly shaped by a lecture, given by a professor of psychiatry, to his medical school class in the last semester of medical school, “You will leave medical school with a knowledge of anatomy and a myriad of tools and techniques to aid you. However, there is only one thing that you need to know, only one. Your only job is to relieve suffering. That is it. That is all. “That lecture remained highlighted in Jack’s mind so that he began each day of practicing medicine trying to honor this wisdom. When he was in the last days of his life, he was still, daily, passing that thought on to medical school students, interns and residents.
He practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Dallas, TX from 1967-1978. In 1978, he moved to Aspen, CO where he practiced until his retirement in 1996.
In his personal life, he consistently showed a boundless capacity for loving his family and for listening. Within his family, he was loved for his silly jokes, told gleefully and on demand. Jack’s grandchildren frequently asked for his headliner joke, “Nate the Snake”. He was a lifelong learner with a vigorous curiosity about the world, past and present. He loved to read, often reading several books a week. A fan of magicians since childhood, he delighted in learning magic tricks and amazing his grandchildren.
He possessed an eager curiosity about the origin of idiomatic phrases, loved a good pun and clever plays on words. It was gratingly distasteful to him that the response to, “Thank you,” had become, “No problem,” instead of, “It was my pleasure,” or, “You are welcome.”
In remembering him, friends have recently written that he was“…easy in the best sense of the word: easy going, easy to be with, easy to enjoy and easy to like, a gentle man and a gentleman, authentic, smart, having a dry and active wit, calm under pressure… the real deal.“
He was a progressive Democrat and participated in the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition and Athens For Everyone.
He died in late August, in Athens, Ga., after a brief skirmish with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Surviving him are his wife, Suzanne Caskey (whose heart lives in Aspen, CO and Athens, GA), three daughters, Anne Marie Caskey (Bill Day) of Memphis, TN, Chris Chandler (Adam Baker) of Boulder, CO , Julie Caskey (James Reichmuth) of Berkeley, CA and grandchildren, Emma, Levi, Jack and Oliver.
A memorial gathering will be held in Aspen at 2 p.m. on October 21, 2017 at T Lazy 7 Lodge.
In lieu of flowers, kindly send donations, in Jack’s name, to Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org) or to Big Life Foundation (biglife.org).
Online condolences may be offered at http://www.Bernstein FuneralHome.com.
Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Athens, GA, had charge of arrangements.
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