Richard E. “Dick” Casper of Dunedin, FL, formerly of Peoria, IL, passed away at 5:20 A.M., August 29, 2021 in Largo, Florida). He was born April 22, 1937 in Peoria, to Clyde M. and Vera K. Casper. He married Patricia U. Fehr on July 20, 1974 in San Jose, CA. She preceded him in death on July 23, 2019. Surviving are stepsons, Michael (Carolyn) Fehr, of San Jose, CA, Daniel (Susan) Fehr of Redding, CA, and Thomas (Jennifer) Fehr of Dunedin, FL. Six step grandchildren, Jenny, Becky, Ben, Stacey, Leslie, Nolan, and seven great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant sister.
Dick was an Orchestra instructor in the Peoria Public Schools for 31 years retiring in 1991. He attended school in Peoria and graduated from Peoria High, where he later taught for 22 years. He maintained a private string studio as well. He attended Illinois Wesleyan and Bradley Universities, receiving his Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees. Dick was a 63 year member and officer of Temple Lodge #46 AF&AM and the Peoria Valley Scottish Rite. He was a 58 year member of Mohammed Shrine, where he conducted the “Chanter” choral unit for 24 years. He also volunteered as a van driver for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. After moving to Florida, he was presented with an honorary membership in Dunedin Masonic Lodge #192 , serving on the Acacia Committee and as Tyler. He also received an honorary membership in Clearwater #127 Lodge and served as Tyler. Dick was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, and Blue Key National Honor Society. He served as Orchestra Division Vice President and All State Equipment Manager for the Illinois Music Educator’s Association, receiving their Distinguished Service Award in 1992. He was a 22 year volunteer escort at Proctor Hospital in Peoria. He volunteered at WCBU as a radio reader as well as answering phones for their fund raising campaigns. In Florida he was a member of the Pinellas Community and Pinellas Park Civic Orchestras as well as a volunteer at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School.
Dick counseled at the Illinois Wesleyan Summer Music Camps for 22 years. He played violin and viola in the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, retiring after 50 years of service. During his musical career he played in many venues in and around central Illinois. He enjoyed gathering with other musicians in their homes to play chamber music. He directed children’s, youth and adult choirs for many years at Peoria’s First United Methodist Church, where he was a life long member. In Florida he attended Northwood Presbyterian Church where he was a member of the Chancel and handbell choirs.
Dick and Pat enjoyed many years of camping with close friends. He enjoyed golf, backpacking, fishing, gardening and traveling. They both looked forward to attending the Peoria Municipal Band concerts and the Metamora, IL Friday concerts every summer. They wintered for 13 years in Harlingen, TX before relocating to Florida to be near family. He adored his grandchildren and spent as much time with them as he could.
Cremation rites have been accorded. Holloway Funeral Home in Oldsmar is assisting the family with arrangements. You will be notified of a Masonic service that will be held at Dunedin Lodge at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Peoria’s First United Methodist Church music ministry, Clearwater’s Northwood Presbyterian Church music ministry, or the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.
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