James B. Castells was born in Ecuador in 1927. In Rye his families address remains unknown. James served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II.
James Castells helped build Cincinnati Zoo literally
Veteran met wife in Europe
BY B.G. GREGG
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A trip to the Cincinnati Zoo with James Castells involved more than gazing at the animals. For 32 years, Mr. Castells served as a project manager for the Richard J. Huseman Co., which later became HGC Construction Co. Inc. During that time, he supervised construction of the zoo's Elephant House, Children's Zoo, Jungle Trails, Animal House and many other projects. "He was very proud," said his wife, Helga. "Every time he took somebody, it was 'I built this,' and 'I built this. "
Mr. Castells suffered a stroke after triple bypass surgery and died Sunday at Christ Hospital. The Green-hills resident was 70.
"For the past 20 years, he did most of the zoo projects," said Raymond R. Huseman, who now heads the construction company. "He had the talents to do that variety of work. He was an energetic and enthusiastic worker." He was that way at home, too. "Whenever we needed something fixed around the house, he was there for us," said his daughter, Rosa Paquette of College Hill. Mr. Castells was born in Ecuador, arriving in the United States as a teen-ager.
He became a U.S. citizen and served in World War II and in the Korean War as a tank commander. During his service in Germany, he met his wife while they were standing in front of a movie theater checking out the coming attractions. "I didn't speak English, and he didn't speak German," she said. "For him, I think it was love at first sight. The moment he met me, he never left me." They raised five children together. Mr. Castells went from being a devoted father to a devoted grandfather of seven. "He attended every football game and every basketball game they were in," Mrs. Paquette said. "He was very proud of his grandchildren."
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Castells is survived by daughters Teresa Brunk of Fairfield and Helga Terry of Hamil ton, and sons Onofre of Springfield Township and James of Greenhills. He is also survived by his step mother, Sarita Castells of Pisgah; three sisters, Mary Rose of Ecuador, Carmen Hostmann of Pisgah and Teresa Puga of Riverside, Calif.; and three brothers, Manuel Castells of Tenafly N.J., Carlos Castells of Springfield, Va., and Onofre Castells of Pisgah.
A memorial service will be held 6-7 p.m. Friday at Paul R. Young Funeral Home, 7345 Hamilton Ave. Visitation will be 5-6 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be sent to Fairfield Band Boosters, 8800 Holden Blvd., Fairfield 45014.