By Jeff Gallatin
Even the weather cooperated with sunshine Friday when a group of family, friends and community members honored former North Olmsted official and resident Carolyn Kasler for her many contributions to the city.
“What a great day this is,” North Olmsted Law Director Michael Gareau Jr., and longtime friend of Kasler, exulted when he made remarks to honor his former colleague on city council. “It’s appropriate that this takes place at a fire station in the city where she did so much for so many people.”
Gareau and a series of public officials spoke at the ceremony at North Olmsted Fire Station 2 where a plaque was placed honoring Kasler’s many contributions to the city. Kasler was a member of the North Olmsted school board from 1992-94, was city of North Olmsted safety director from 1994-98 and was a councilwoman-at-large from 1998-2005. She also was a youth magistrate for the city, served in many groups, and was a successful attorney while raising three children with her husband, Bob. She passed away after a bout with cancer a few months after resigning from city council. The family hosted a luncheon at the Springvale Country Club afterwards for people who attended the event.
Gareau, who was one of the driving forces behind getting Kasler honored with the plaque, recalled how committed she was to whatever she was doing.
“I remember her passion,” Gareau said. “Whatever she was working on, she wanted it done right for people.”
He also remembered how she could make any situation lighter.
“Anybody who heard her laugh can remember how it made you feel better,” he said.
North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy said Kasler left a strong legacy.
“Although her time with us was short, her contributions were long,” he said.
Berea City Councilman Dick Malott, a longtime family friend, recalled Carolyn’s caring about people.
“I met her about 30 years ago,” he said. “Her husband, Bob, and I worked together (in the Cleveland City School district), and our families always had a good time together. You could tell she cared about helping people and wanting to get things done.”
Malott said she and Kasler didn’t get the chance to work together on any joint government projects.
“We would talk sometime about what was going on in our cities,” he said.
North Olmsted School Superintendent Cheryl Dubsky said she enjoyed being with Kasler and recalled how they had worked together back when Dubsky was an assistant principal at North Olmsted High School. She also remembered how Kasler and Bob were fun to be with.
“I can remember doing the chicken dance with them at a boosters event at the high school,” she said.
North Olmsted Police Chief Jamie Gallagher and his fire counterpart, Tom Klecan, both said she worked closely with their departments.
“She respected what we do and provided whatever we needed to get the job done while still being a strong director,” Gallagher said.
After the ceremony, family members said they appreciated people’s support.
Bob thanked all the North Olmsted city officials for their “thoughtful tributes,” and others, like Kennedy assistant Jane Leaver, who organized the actual ceremony.
“Our heartfelt thanks to all her former colleagues from North Olmsted and her many friends and family who also joined us in honoring her many years of serving the community,” Bob Kasler said. “It is especially gratifying to know that Carolyn touched so very many people during her years of public service.”
Her children also thanked the various people who took part and have remembered Carolyn.
“We began in North Olmsted as a family and true to her personality my mother was loyal to the city we called home,” said Lisa Kasler. “It was amazing to see and hear the sincerity, generosity and love that everyone had for my mom.”
Her sister Kim Cassano said the ceremony was a thoughtful and touching way to honor and remember her mother.
“I know she would have been pleased with the sincerity and thoughtfulness that went into the planning and preparation,” Cassano said. “My entire family is so appreciative that she was remembered in such a dignified way, and our sincere thanks to all of the people that made the day so special. I am so thankful to have been able to attend and be a part of such a wonderful event to honor and remember her.”
Kasler’s son Jeff said he’s grateful for the thoughtfulness of all involved.
“To remember my mom nearly six years after she passed with such a dignified dedication is an honor that my family will always cherish,” he said.”My mom had a deep passion and commitment to the city of North Olmsted, its safety forces, schools and in particular, its citizens.”