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Published: Thursday, 12/7/2006

Michigan veterinarian was tireless civic worker

HILLSDALE - Dr. Donald E. Caswell, 85, a retired veterinarian who was a former civic and community leader in North Adams, Mich., died of kidney failure Monday in his home here.

Dr. Caswell was the president of the North Adams Village Council in the 1950s, the village street commissioner from the mid 1950s through the mid 1970s, and a member of the village school board in the late 1950s through the mid 1960s.

He also was a member of the North Adams Volunteer Fire Department in the late 1940s.

Dr. Caswell retired about 1986 after 40 years of veterinary practice in North Adams.

In retirement, he was a crossing guard at Gier Elementary School in Hillsdale for five years, until about 2003, when his health declined.

"He had a strong love for community, for his family, and for his wife," his son, Michael Caswell, said. "He was a very good mentor, an excellent father, and a wonderful husband."

Born in Lenawee County, Dr. Caswell was raised in North Adams, graduating in 1939 from North Adams High School and from the Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1943.

During World War II, Dr. Caswell served in the Army twice.

He first served as a veterinarian while studying, from June, 1943, when he enlisted, until December, 1943, when he was honorably discharged.

In November, 1944, he was drafted and later served as an infantryman in Italy and Austria until his honorable discharge in November, 1946.

After the military service, Dr. Caswell returned to North Adams and joined his father's veterinary practice there. His father, Dr. Frank E. Caswell, died in 1973.

In retirement, the younger Dr. Caswell lived mostly in Hillsdale.

His memberships included the Michigan Veterinary Association, the American Legion in Hillsdale, the VFW in Sebring, Fla., and the former North Adams Masonic Lodge, where he was a past worshipful master.

Surviving are his wife of nearly 63 years, Eleanor; sons, Michael Caswell and state Rep. Bruce Caswell (R., Hillsdale); sister, Ardis Caswell, and five grandsons.

There will be no visitation. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Hampton-Kurtz Funeral Home, Hillsdale.

The family suggests tributes to a memorial scholarship fund at the Hillsdale Community Foundation to benefit North Adams' graduates.

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