OWENSBORO, KY - Reverend William L. Castlen, age 94 of Owensboro, KY, known affectionately as "Brother Bill" by most of his friends, passed from life into the presence of His Lord on November 19, 2011, around 7:30 AM. at Bluegrass Hospice Mountain Community, in Hazard, KY, after three years of declining health.
He was born in St. Louis, MO, on October 9, 1917, to Henry and Annie Farmer Castlen. His family moved to Owensboro when he was four years old. His former education included the Owensboro public schools, and later, Trevecca Nazarene College, Brescia College, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. On March 13, 1974, his life was radically changed when, under the ministry of his father-in-law-to-be, Reverend Fred T. Carby, he received Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, and as he has told it for so long, was called by the Lord to preach His glorious Gospel – both at the same time. He traveled with Brother Jim Isbill in evangelistic work for several years, and in 1939 married Freda Allene Carby, with whom he would share his life and ministry for nearly seven decades. He volunteered to serve his country as an assistant chaplain in the U.S. Army during the Second World War in England, France, and Belgium.
The Castlens and Isbills were co-workers in the Gospel for several years, serving together as co-founders of the People's Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Brother Bill also served as pastor of Baptist churches in Sharp Park, Belmont, and Santa Cruz, CA, and in Miami, FL. He was called back to pastor the People's Baptist Church in Owensboro in the mid-70's, and after a couple of attempts at retirement, resumed active ministry as pastor of the Rockport Baptist Church in Ohio County, KY for nearly ten years and as minister to senior adults at the Walnut Memorial Baptist Church in Owensboro for six years. He retired from active ministry in 2005 in order to devote full time to caring for his precious wife until her death in 2008. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Owensboro.
Brother Bill was preceded in death by a half-brother, Joseph W. Castlen, a half-sister, Susan Henderson Sugg, a half-brother, William Mitchell Henderson, a half-brother, Edward Henderson, his brother, Edward Bryant Castlen, one child resulting from miscarriage, and by Allene, his wife of 69 ½ years. He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Susan Irene Mattingly, of Owensboro, KY; by one son, James Eudelle Castlen of Busy, KY, and one daughter, Joy Denice Robinson of Louisville, KY; by two grandchildren, Timothy James Castlen of Baltimore, MD, and Heather Noel Riddle, of Louisville, KY; and by two great-grandchildren, Caleb Jackson Riddle and Eliana Grace Riddle, of Louisville, KY; and by several nieces, nephews, loving relatives of Allene's family, and a host of friends near and far.
The final arrangements are being handled by the staff of Haley-McGinnis & Owensboro Funeral Home, with visitation on Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. and after 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The services will be at the funeral home on Tuesday at 1 p.m., with Castlen's son, Dr. James Castlen officiating, assisted by Dr. Paul Straham. Entombment will follow with a brief committal service with Dr. David Nelson officiating at Rosehill-Elmwood Cemetery in Owensboro along with military honors provided by VFW Post 696. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230. Online condolences may be left at www.haleymcginnis.com.
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