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John W. Casto

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Biography

John Wheaton Casto (1 August 1879, Danville, Ill. – 8 May 1950, Escalon, Calif.) was an American educator, musician, literary critic, music critic, composer, world traveler, and civic organizer.

Casto received his education at William Penn College, Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Heidelberg University. In Oskaloosa, he became friends with C. L. Barnhouse whose publishing company marketed most of his compositions.

Mr. Casto was an educator in the Rock Island, Ill., school system for 30 years, starting in 1905. He first taught social studies, then later became a school principal, and eventually was elected superintendent of schools. He was known for his pioneering work in vocational education and had so many progressive ideas on this subject that the school board, resisting change, dismissed him as superintendent. After his dismissal, he was literary and music critic for several Illinois newspapers.

While associated with the Ingersol schools, Casto wrote the school song. He also sometimes using the pseudonym Jean Kastowsky and wrote many marches. He played with the Tri-City Symphony Orchestra, and is remembered as a fine pianist who could play any tune requested. He also loved to sit in with the school band and play drums. His natural talent is reflected in his compositions, and his Italian heritage played a large part in his music endeavors. A crowning glory was a decoration from Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy.

In 1942, Casto moved to California where he remained for the rest of his life.


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