Cover photo for John Francis Casey's Obituary
John Francis Casey Profile Photo

John Francis Casey

June 24, 1937 — March 24, 2023

Burlington

John Francis Casey

John Francis Casey was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937.  He attended the prestigiuos St.Xavier High School and was an honors student all four years.  During high school John discovered short wave radio and began a lifelong love of radio.  He was a brilliant and active student who loved learning and school.  He was active in class council, the drama club and was editor and chief of the school newspaper.  He was also a member of the St. Xavier championship regional debate team.  In high school John discovered a love of languages, especially Spanish.  He went on to attend Notre Dame University in 1955, and during his years there served as manager of the campus radio station.  He spent one semester attending summer school at the University of Mexico in Mexico City.  John graduated in 1959 with a BA in Spanish language (Magna Cum Laude).  In 1961 he continued his education at the University of Syracuse, graduating in 1963 with a Master’s degree in communications (Magna Cum Laude).

During college John continued his interest in radio and communications, and determined he wanted to work in radio instead of teaching Spanish.   Near the end of his stay at Notre Dame a friend named Klaus invited him on a trip to Florida where John's life would change.  In Florida John met and fell in love with Irmgard Pahler (his friend Klaus's sister). John courted Irmgard, who at that time lived in Potsdam, NY.  He spent many months writing letters, making phone calls and taking long train trips back and forth to Potsdam, NY.  In 1959 John and Irmgard became engaged, and were wed in 1960.  They were married for 62 years, and John often said that meeting and marrying Irmgard was the greatest blessing of his life.  

John pursued his radio career and worked in the radio business, starting in small stations as a DJ and gradually working his way up to becoming general manager at WIOG and WSGW in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1975.  He subsequently took the two stations from a small audience to radio giants, increasing the broadcast strength of both stations and making WIOG a ratings powerhouse that took number one in Arbitron ratings for 17 ratings in a row.  In the 1990's WIOG was nominated for a prestigious National Association of Broadcasting Marconi award, and at one point WIOG had the highest ratings for any station across the entire US.

In 1997 John fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a radio station owner, purchasing WWOJ and WWTK in Sebring, Florida.  After spending several years in the sunshine, John and Irmgard missed their family and decided to move to Burlington, North Carolina to be closer to their two grandsons.

John spent his retirement in Burlington enjoying time with his grandsons and other family members.  He also cultivated his hobbies of collecting pens, watching old westerns, fishing, jazz music, traveling and learning about different cultures.  He attended Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church where he was an active parishoner. Because of his amazing radio voice, he served as a lector for many years.

John is survived by his wife, Irmgard; a son, Joel Casey and wife Tamara; a daughter, Melinda Casey; his grandsons, Joshua Casey and Jacob Casey; his sisters, Anne Friebert, Mary Mulligan, Patricia Abramoski, Rose Atwood and husband Dennis; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The funeral mass will be held at 11:00am Friday, March 31, 2023 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church by Father Peter Tromblay with the burial to follow at Alamance Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 10:00 to 10:45am Friday prior to the service at the church.

Memorials may be made to the National Shrine of St. Jude Claretian Missionaries at www.shrineofstjude.org. You may send condolences to www.lowefuneralhome.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Francis Casey, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 31, 2023

10:00 - 10:45 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

1620 Hanford Road, Graham, NC 27253

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Funeral Mass

Friday, March 31, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

1620 Hanford Road, Graham, NC 27253

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, March 31, 2023

Starts at 12:15 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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