Dr. Melvin Kasten

Friday, April 16, 2004

Melvin C. Kasten, M.D., F.A.C.S., passed on to his heavenly reward Thursday, April 15, 2004.

Dearly loved and respected by many, he served his God as a charter member, the first treasurer, and a very active member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church since 1957.

He served his country as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a bombardier navigator, flying 25 missions over Germany from a base in England during World War II.

He served his patients as a surgeon and caregiver in the Cape Girardeau area for over 40 years until retiring in 1993.

Mel served his medical community as president of the Missouri State Medical Association and as a delegate from Missouri to the American Medical Association, as a representative from Southeast Missouri to the Missouri State Medical Society. He also served in numerous medical leadership positions.

He served his community while working with the Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society and Lions Club, as well as numerous other community boards.

Dr. Kasten served as a Little League coach and as a member of the Cape Girardeau City Council where he served eight years. He was a supporter of multiple charities.

Dr. Kasten served on the board and was past president of Southeast Missouri Hospital Board of Trustees. He served as chief of staff and a member of the board of Southeast Missouri Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center. Dr. Kasten was one of the five founding members of Cape Girardeau Doctors' Park and Doctors' Park Surgery of Cape Girardeau.

He served as chairman of the Cape Girardeau Republican Central Committee two terms and was selected to serve as a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention. Mel Kasten was also a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association.

Dr. Kasten, 79, was born May 9, 1924, in Jackson. He and Mary Critchlow were married June 19, 1949, at Matthews, Mo.

He was a 1949 graduate of the University of Missouri and a 1951 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Dr. Kasten later became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He was the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards, including the Outstanding Service Award from Southeast Missouri Hospital, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Medical Association, and the Alumni Merit Award from Southeast Missouri State University.

Mel leaves behind his wife of 54 years, Mary Critchlow Kasten; two sons, Dr. Mark Kasten and wife Lois of Cape Girardeau, Mike Kasten and wife Priscilla of Millersville; a daughter, Margaret Kasten Sexton and husband Terry of Cape Girardeau. He leaves behind nine grandchildren, Ben and Heather Kasten of Baton Rouge, La., Ryan Frenz of Cape Girardeau, Caroline and Drew Anna Kasten of Millersville, Emma Grace, Heather, Christina and Terry Jr. of Cape Girardeau.

Mel is also survived by two brothers, R.C. Kasten and wife Ruth Ann of Jackson, John David Kasten and wife Ruth, also of Jackson; an aunt, Hazel Hitt; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ardena Kasten; his twin brother, Jim, and Jim's wife Louise, all of Jackson.

He was an enthusiastic hunter and fisherman and shared many good times with his children.

He will be sorely missed by his loving family and many great friends.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home.

A celebration of the life of Mel Kasten will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. A committal service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery, with graveside rites by VFW Post 3838.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Saxony Lutheran High School, Southeast Missouri State University Life Sciences Initiatives or Southeast Missouri Hospital Foundation.