Donald (Doc) Casperson , age 77, passed away peacefully of pneumonia at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham, WA on June 23, 2017, with his caring wife, Elaine, and adoring daughter, Leslie, by his side. Don and Elaine moved to Lynden, WA in January, 2016,to be closer to Leslie and her family who live in Abbotsford, BC. Don was a loving and devoted husband, father and papa.
Don was born and raised in Rochester, NY, the only son of George and Louise. Growing up, Don spent many hours at the YMCA, participating in sports and volunteering. One of his memorable achievements was becoming an acolyte in the Episcopal Church. After excelling in football, basketball and baseball while in high school, he garnered an athletic scholarship to Ohio Wesleyan University where he also was successful in those three sports and awarded an MVP in football. After graduation, he taught science and coached at Colonel White HS in Dayton, OH. He was pursuing his Masters at Xavier University when he met his future wife, also a teacher, on a blind date. After 6 months and four days Don and Elaine were married. (This past March, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.) Both Don and Elaine got their Masters at Xavier and then Don went on to get his Doctorate at Indiana University.
In 1970, Don was hired at Fresno State University as an Assistant Professor in Health Science. Not long after, he became a full Professor and was an integral part of the Master’s Program. He loved teaching and his students appreciated his knowledge and engaging style. His 13 years at FSU were very rewarding. He especially enjoyed taking students during winter break to different countries to study their health care systems. The Caspersons were diehard Bulldog fans.
Daughter Leslie was born in 1971 and Don loved being a father. He was an involved, supportive and proud dad. Watching her graduate from Memorial and Cal Poly, then years later, walking her down the aisle to be married were times he especially cherished.
After moving to California, Don developed an interest in wine. He and his partner eventually opened Old Doc’s Discount Liquor and developed a wonderful reputation for carrying fine wines and liquors. During the years in business, Don hired many students. He worked around their school schedule and was always encouraging them to finish their education. He taught a class every so often to the Enology students, weaving the retail side into their knowledge of winemaking.
Don loved to plan trips to the wine country for his customers. He personally took friends or groups on many tasting trips which were always memorable. In the cellar at Cedar and Nees, there were many wonderful wine tastings, always with food to enhance the social experience.
His generous donations to many local groups were appreciated. He and another partner, organized the Celebration of Miracles dinners for Valley Children’s Hospital. Several well-known chefs planned and cooked together each year while Don paired good wines with each course. It was always a sell-out and a successful fundraiser. Don also helped with various other community fundraising including Ag One, Partners in Education for Fresno Unified, Fresno City College to name a few. Don worked very hard and never complained about working. He loved what he did and was pleased to help customers many of whom came back giving him compliments on his choices. He was so grateful for all the employees and their dedication to Old Doc’s. He also enjoyed working with the sales people. It was a working relationship with mutual respect. When his health made it necessary to retire, the two local stores closed in December of 2013.
He was also a long-time supportive booster of Elaine’s hobby, Sweet Adelines. You could always find Don at contests or fundraisers for her quartets and the chorus.
But above all, family meant the most to him. His amazing daughter and son-in-law; grandchildren, Connor and Julia were the apple of his eye and he so loved seeing them often after moving to Lynden. Being their papa brought him unending joy. Having been bedridden since 2014, Don never lost his will to live or his sense of humor. He was grateful to God for every day and very thankful for Elaine’s care. He is truly missed.
He is survived by loving wife, Elaine, cherished daughter Leslie and husband Cameron Friesen, precious grandchildren Connor and Julia, his “favorite” and only sister, Mary Lou of Fresno, brothers and sisters in law, cousins, nieces and nephews and so many dear friends near and far.
We are extremely grateful for the care he received from Dr Malcolm Ghazal(dec), Dr Patrick Golden, Dr Roy Kroeker, Dr Ed Hanks,
Dr Robert Libke, St Agnes Home Health , Father Dave Norris and Deacon John Supino at St Paul Newman Center in Fresno, CA. Thanks also in Bellingham, WA, to Peace Health doctors and Signature Home Health.
We are also so appreciative of all the expressions of sympathy during this difficult time. There will be a Celebration of Don’s life on
August 26 at 2 PM held on the patio at the Elbow Room in Fig Garden Village. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don’s name to Ag One for a Fresno State Enology Student Scholarship. 2910 E Barstow Ave, Fresno, CA 93740, or to the donors favorite charity.