Local 1960s football, track and field icon passes | News | Palo Alto Online |


Local 1960s football, track and field icon passes


Don Castle passed away July 19, 2010, in Paradise California. He was 66 years old.

He was an All Northern California quarterback in 1960 at Cubberley High and the top shot putter in the nation in 1961 with a state high school record throw (and still the Central Coast Section record according to DyeStatCal) of 65-7 3/4. Dallas Long won the U.S. national title that year with a heave of 62-2.

Extra bleachers had to be installed to accommodate the large crowds that came to watch Castle perform. As a result of his exceptionally long throws, the pit had to be lengthened.

In addition, he was an excellent student and had offers from the top universities in the country. He will be remembered as one of the best athletes ever produced in the Bay Area in the last half century.

As Palo Alto sportswriter Dink Templeton pointed out at the time, Don Castle's feats were phenomenal considering he only weighed 175 pounds. He will be missed by those of us who were fortunate to compete with him and learn from his leadership and competitive spirit.

Survivors include his wife Patti Castle(Paradise, CA), Stepfather Stan Merrell (Dallas), brother Doug Castle (Klamath Falls), sister Nancy Toland (Dallas), son Donald Edward (Bellevue, WA), son Thomas Franklin(Elk Grove), and five grandchildren.

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3 people like this
Posted by Ernie Long
a resident of University South
on Aug 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

It was a real shock to hear of Don Castle passing away, so sudden and final. As boys we shared the same high school Cubberley, than we were teammates at Foothill College. After 1963 about a month after I set the American record for 50 miles at Searsville Lake(6 hours 51 minutes) I entered the Army. I lost contact with Don. He hurt his shoulder in our senior year in football and was just beaten out by Craig Morton from Campbell, who went on to become the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. i guess, I am dismayed on how little his passing meant to so many of the people he came in contact. Rest in Peace,Don God be with you.

3 people like this
Posted by Bruce Kentera
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Don Castle was not only an outstanding athlete, student and individual, he was my very close friend during our time at Cubberley High School in the late 50's and early 60's. I cherish my memories of Don and his wonderful family who took me in as a son. I also cherish having been able to compete with and against Don in baseball and basketball, two sports he excelled at but for which he was less well-known. Don could do anything he set his mind to and usually do it better than most any of his peers. My wife and I double-dated with Don and his date to the Cubberley Junior Prom in 1960 and it was probably then that we fell in love. Don's passing is painful to me and I hope that people will always remember him in a positive manner.

3 people like this
Posted by Allen Culver
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I had the privilege of playing football at Cubberley High School with Don Castle my Senior year (Don's Junior Year). He was an awesome talent and a true leader for all of us. I first met Don when I was in the eighth grade and he in the seventh. At one time in our young careers, we had the same girl-friend, not at the same time, however. In 1964, while at Stanford University, several of us went to the Cow Palace to watch an indoor track meet with the top athletes from around the country competing. Lo and behold, Don Castle was one of the participants in the shot put, which he handily won. He had grown from175 lbs in high school to something over 225 lbs, maybe more. There was a sprint, as part of the competition, where the field guys ran a 200 yard sprint against one another. Don blew them off of the track, As Bruce Kentera suggested and to which I agree, I will always remember him in a positive manner. He meant so much to all of us.

3 people like this
Posted by Dave McQuery
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I have seen some articles regarding local athletes up here in the Portland, OR area that were crowing about the high school shot put "records" of 62 and 63 feet. It seemed to me that we, at Cubberley, had someone a little better than that--50 years ago! I looked up Don's records on the internet, and read the news of his passing. I played on the same football and baseball teams as Don, but I will tell you, I was never in his league! As for the shot put, I remember looking at the chain link fence at the end of the pit during out sophomore years. It had huge dents in it and was replaced and the pit lengthened to accommodate his extraordinary talents. I can't claim Don and I were ever close, but he was always an inspiration to me as well as to many others. RIP. -- Portland 02/03/2013

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