Well, where to begin? Let’s get through the usual stuff first, Al Casteen joined the Army National Guard right out of school, got married, and worked full time while also attending college at night. Contemplating studying medicine or law, he finally settled on this interesting new field of computers, much to his parents’ dismay. Hard work and a brilliant mind brought him great success, as he eventually became an independent financial advisor for several Fortune 25 companies around the globe. I guess most would say he probably made the correct decision. Now, let’s get to the man. “Big Al” was an honored founder and (often) President of the PSRA, Portsmouth Street Rod Association. This group of amazing car club buddies have been some of his closest family for the past 50 years, and they are the last group of men he was with before he left this earth. He left the club meeting, came home happily chatting away about his time with them, patted his beloved dog Ringer, on the head and went to bed.
He married his only love, Newanna, 54 years ago and they had two daughters, Taraleigh and Lana. One is more subdued and a “homebody,” the other is louder and an extreme extrovert, we will leave it to you to determine who is who. When the girls married Bert and Jason, he gained the sons he had also always longed for. Teaching them all about cars, finances, Charles Schwab, and the importance of supporting public servants are lessons deeply embedded in each one. His “princess” Savannah came along and suddenly the rest of the world just wasn’t as important anymore. Then along came Anne, and in true fashion, he relished being a “Dandy” to two. In his later years, he considered himself extra fortunate to acquire “bonus daughters” Sarah Tyson and Jenn Griffin. And particularly close to his heart, his “bonus son,” Brian Carroll. He loved and was loved by his family at the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad where he was an honorary member, which made him feel like a King. His beloved dog Ringer was often found by his side while he walked the Town.
As an eventual elected figure in Isle of Wight, Al proudly served “all the fine folks of his town” and was always humbled that so many greeted him wherever he went. Always one to support small local business, give free ice cream vouchers to every police officer, city worker, trooper, and first responder, Al truly led a legendary life. He leaves behind a deep void, big shoes to fill, and a legacy for us all to strive for. Al’s passing is the result of a recently discovered cancer and while it wasn’t a secret, he usually chose to discuss happier things when he spoke, his courage and strength are indescribable. When asked if he thought maybe he had done too much that final day Friday, September 15, 2023, he closed eyes and simply said “maybe, but today was a GOOD day.” Enough said.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, September 24, 2023, 2 p.m. at Little’s Funeral Home, Smithfield. Followed by a processional down South Church and Main Street to the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad, where a reception will be held. Burial will take place at Albert G. Horton Veterans Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad, www.iwvrs.com or POBox 97, Smithfield, VA 23431. Online condolences may be registered at www.littlesfuneralhome.com.