James L Casale (fondly known as Jimmy) passed away on July 3rd, 2023 in Naples, Florida, surrounded by his family. Jimmy was known for his love and devotion to his family, his Catholic faith, his patriotism, his passion for his career in education, and his infectious smile and sense of humor.  

Jimmy was born in New York City on October 22nd, 1940.  When he was 8 years old his family relocated to Harrison, NY.  Jimmy graduated from Harrison High School in 1957, where he participated in both varsity football and baseball.  He then attended and graduated from Providence College.  During the summers he worked as a youth camp counselor and discovered his passion for teaching, which would spark a highly successful 50 year career in education . 

Jimmy served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and was honorably discharged in 1964.  He was very proud of his service and maintained a close friendship with several of his fellow Marines throughout his entire life. 

Jimmy began his education career as a teacher in New York.  While visiting Florida in the Summer of 1968, he fell in love with the Sunshine State and moved with his wife Catherine and two young children (James and Karen) to the small, beautiful (but growing) city of Naples.  

Jimmy taught 4th and 5th grade at Avalon Elementary School.  He was consistently lauded for his teaching excellence including the development of individualized learning programs for his students. In 1974, Jimmy was named Florida Teacher of the Year, the first male teacher to attain this honor. His experience included being personally awarded by Governor Reubin Askew and speaking before the Florida Senate.   Jimmy was active in the Naples community, coaching youth sports and organizing The ‘Grapefruit League,’ a youth baseball program in East Naples. 

Jimmy continued his career pursuits by attaining a Ph.D. in Education Administration from Texas A&M University. He eventually relocated back to New York, where he served as a School Principal and Assistant Superintendent of Schools. While principal of Purchase Elementary School, the school was recognized as a National School of Excellence by the Department of Education. 

Upon retirement, Jimmy stayed active in educational consulting and wrote two well reviewed books on childhood education and development.  He valued his time with his family and stayed active with exercise, travel and his pursuit of life-long learning. 

Jimmy is survived by his children: his son James Casale and his daughter Karen Casale-Masliah and husband David; his sister Stephanie Carnavalla and husband Jim; his sister Francesca DeAngelo and husband Gabriel; his grandchildren Olivia, Christian, Luca, Caroline, Jack and Nicholas;  his former wife Catherine; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife of 27 years, Janet; his parents – Frank and Carmelina Casale; and his brother Joseph and wife Doris Casale. 

When it came to his approach to life, to paraphrase one of his idols – Frank Sinatra: Jim did it ‘His Way.’  He had a positive and meaningful impact on so many people that will far outlast his life. He will be deeply missed and lovingly and fondly remembered by his family and many friends. 

A mass service and celebration of life will be held on Thursday August 3rd, 11am at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Harrison, NY.