Marjorie B. Castetter
November 17, 1926 – March 7, 2021
Everyone who met Marjorie Castetter, even when she was in her nineties, commented on her beauty. The photograph appearing here shows why; Marjorie, at age 92, sits before her engagement photo, taken at age 20, next to her soon-to-be husband, Robert K. Castetter. She is beautiful in both pictures. Marjorie Castetter passed away peacefully at home with her family present on the evening of March 7, 2021. She had lived in her home in the Mount Helix area of La Mesa for almost 60 years.
Marjorie was born on November 17, 1926, in Flint, Michigan. Her father, John Robert Bruce, was an immigrant from Scotland. Her mother, Pearl Featherston Bruce, was from Kentucky, where her family was one of Kentucky’s earliest settlers. Her parents were very successful in the Real Estate business until the Great Depression struck. Her father then took the family on a nomadic journey throughout the Midwest and Kentucky as he found temporary jobs as an accountant or manager for various businesses. They finally settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, for Marjorie’s high school years. She attended high school at Anderson Township and Walnut Hills High School (consistently rated in the top 100 high schools in the nation). She graduated at age sixteen and, right after high school, entered the University of Cincinnati in 1943, where she was one of the first and few women to attend the School of Engineering. It was while attending college and working that she met her future husband.
Marjorie was working in a local Buick dealership office when Robert K. Castetter came in and bought three new convertibles for cash. Robert had been recently discharged from the Army as a lieutenant after serving in World War II. He had started a very successful Bible publishing business with his father. He decided to buy a new convertible for himself, his father, and his sister (his mother didn’t drive). Once Marjorie received the sales paperwork, she decided “she had to take a look at that guy.” According to Marjorie and Robert, when they met, it was “love at first sight.” They were married a year later, in November of 1947, three days after Marjorie’s 21st birthday. The couple remained married for 62 years until Robert’s death in 2009.
The couple moved to San Diego, where, in 1954, the Business School at San Diego State College recruited Robert to become a professor. Robert became head of the Finance Department and was voted the most popular professor by the students when, in 1959, he was approached to become Dean of the struggling California Western School of Law. He took the reins as Dean in 1960. Little did Marjorie and Robert know they were beginning an adventure that would become a lifetime achievement. Marjorie played a crucial role in the law school’s growth as Robert (“Dean”) Castetter brought California Western success, gaining full accreditation, bringing high-quality students and faculty to the school, and significantly increasing the school’s reputation in the legal community. Marjorie became known as a gracious and successful hostess of fundraisers, networking parties, and events - basically doing the job that a whole Development Department would now handle. She was also instrumental in helping the Dean create and run the school’s Mexican Law Program. Always creative and caring for others, Marjorie also created a spousal support group for law students’ significant others. She did all this while successfully running a household, raising four children, and fully participating in their many varied activities. As the coordinator and facilitator of all things in the home and family, she was an inspirational and caring mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.
Marjorie is survived by her four children, their spouses, three grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. Son Bruce R. Castetter and wife Karla M. Castetter of La Jolla; daughter Deborah Castetter-Keller and husband Arturo Keller of Petaluma; son Roy R. Castetter and wife Kristi Castetter; grandchildren Drew R. Castetter, Brooke Castetter Gullatta and husband Nick Gullatta, and great-granddaughter Avery Mae Parker Gullatta, all of Jamul; daughter Victoria Castetter Ellecamp, her husband Dan W. Ellecamp and granddaughter Rebecca L. Ellecamp of Petaluma. The family wishes to recognize Marjorie’s longtime caregiver, Maria Ramos of San Diego.
There will be viewing from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on April 7, and a service on April 8 at 11:00 am at Erickson-Anderson Mortuary on Allison Ave. in La Mesa. Burial will follow at the El Camino Cemetery. Those wishing to honor Marjorie’s life may donate in her name to The Professor Robert K. Castetter and Marjorie B. Castetter Endowment, California Western School of Law.
Marjorie B. Castetter
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