GREENVILLE — Readers scanning the obituaries section of the Daily Advocate this past week may have seen that Jesse Cassell, 94, of Greenville, died Saturday, June 4, at Wayne Healthcare in Greenville.
What wasn’t mentioned in his obituary was Cassell’s dedication to saving lives through the giving of blood and that until his death, he was Darke County’s oldest active blood donor.
Though Cassell has passed away, his impact will never be forgotten by Community Blood Center (CBC) workers.
“I only met Jesse once,” said CBC Public Relations/Marketing Associate Mark Pompilio, “but I can tell you my reaction to the news; ‘Jesse was such a sweet man. This comes as shock to me because he was so full of life — it seemed he might live forever. But the truth is, he lived a long, full life, and he shared it with others in a truly significant way.”
“[CBC Account Representative for Darke County] Dana Puterbaugh and I exchanged emails Friday. Dana wrote: ‘Jesse was one of my favorite donors. It is just so sad to think he won’t be in to tell me one of his jokes anymore.’” said Pompilio.
Humor was a Cassell trademark. During a blood drive held at the Greenville Church of the Brethren in March 2015, Cassell is reported to have asked, “What kind of button can you never unbutton? A belly button!”
Pompilio, writing on Cassell, said his history as a blood donor was hard-earned, a commitment maintained through the blood, sweat and tears of a long life.
“I started in 1940, right out of Milton-Union High School,” Cassell told Pompilio. “I was living on the farm with my father. I went to work at NCR, I would stay until spring, then come back to work on the farm.”
He began full-time work at NCR in 1956. Community Blood Center was founded in 1964 and began holding blood drives at NCR, where Cassell could donate. He was laid off in 1975 and said, “I put my application in to 39 places in 35 days.” He worked 13-hour days as a custodian at both West Milton and Northmont Schools, took a job at Fowler Enterprises for a couple of years, then ended up on the night shift at Hobart. He became a foreman and retired in 1987.
Cassell was also a former member of the Potsdam, Ohio, Town Council and mayor of Potsdam. He was a longtime resident of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville where he enjoyed biking, playing pool and helping others.
Cassell and his wife Mary Esther raised two daughters and a son. His wife died in August 1988.
“We were two months shy of being married 64 years,” he said.
In his later years, he shared a special friendship with Iris Bolden, whom he met at the retirement community where they both resided.
In his memory, CBC shared “Jesse’s Secrets to a Long, Happy Life”:
- Tell a new joke every day;
- Daily exercise on his two-wheeler;
- 6 cups, each with 3 vitamins daily;
- Drink 8 ounces of water with each vitamin cup;
- 5 stewed prunes at bedtime;
- A lady friend who is a good cook;
- More games like dominoes, less movies and TV;
- Lunches with friends, dinners with lady friend;
- Church on Sunday;
- Donate blood.
Cassell’s last blood donation was March 8 at a Women of Moose blood drive held at the Church of the Brethren. According to the CBC, he had 83 lifetime donations, representing more than 10 gallons of blood.
For more information on the life-saving work performed by the Community Blood Center, visit the organization’s website at www.givingblood.org.