Domenick J. Castaldo - 60

2/3/1957 - 4/29/2017

Mt. Morris, IL

Domenick James Castaldo, age 60, of Mt. Morris, passed away at his home on Saturday April 29, 2017 as the result of complications from a stroke. “Dom,” as he was affectionately known to many people, lived a happy and productive life until the last few years, when several strokes took away many of his physical and mental abilities. His passions were to hunt, fish, and garden, read, and write articles. He took such pride in his house and yard. Dom was born on February 3, 1957, to Frank and Louise Castaldo in Trenton, New Jersey. At age three, Dom’s family moved to Hamilton Township, New Jersey. Dom attended a local public high school in Hamilton Township, NJ, and graduated as a member of the National Honor Society from Steinert High School in 1975. The same year, he enrolled in Pfeiffer College in North Carolina, where he met the love of his life and future wife Kitty Bray. Dom transferred to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, in 1977, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude. He immediately enrolled in graduate school in 1978 at Clemson University, in South Carolina, where he studied poultry nutrition. In his PhD research, Dom discovered a new method of feeding egg laying chickens a fraction of soybean oil to reduce egg shell breakage during transport and storage. Dom received an award for his research from the National Poultry Association in 1986. His research and course work earned Dom a Master of Science and later a Doctorate of Philosophy, both from Clemson University in 1988. Dom left academia and worked as the editor of Feed Management magazine at Watt Publishing Co, in Mount Morris, IL. In addition, Dom created and led three tours of groups of 30-40 feed industry professionals on visits to feed manufacturing facilities in various regions of the U.S. He helped launch the Truck Fleet of the Year contest. He was the chair of the American Feed Industry Association’s Scholarship Committee for several years in the 1990s. Dom left Watt Publishing Co. for a Director of Communications position at Alltech Biotechnology Co., headquartered in Nicholasville, KY. Later, Dom left industry and took several academic positions, as a biology professor at Kishwaukee Community College, Sauk Valley Community College, and Highland Community College. Dom was passionate about teaching, and many of his students completed veterinary, medical, and nursing programs. On August 18, 1979, he and Kitty were married, and together they had 2 children Louise and Frank. Dom’s children brought much joy and pride to him. Together, Dom and Kitty overcame many of life’s challenges and obstacles including Dom’s strokes and Kitty’s breast cancer diagnosis. Kitty became a very successful nurse. Her skills touched the lives of many people. She was a terrific wife and helpmate to Dom, and he loved her very deeply and completely. Dom was a member of the Poultry Science Association, the American Chemical Society, the Rochelle Wildlife Conservation Club, Twin Towers Gun Club, National Rifle Association, and Pheasants Forever. He was also a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, for many years. Dom was a former member of the Rack and Wing Pheasant Hunting Club. He was a Boy Scout (Troop 78), attaining the rank of First Class Scout. He was elected Assistant Patrol Leader by his fellow Boy Scouts. He rose through the ranks to First Class scout. In middle age, Dom began studying Tae Kwan Do, and reached the rank of brown belt. He won several trophies and metals in tournaments in Tae Kwan Do. In 1974, Dom’s high school biology teacher taught him the basics of taxidermy. Dom later improved his skills through short courses, videos, and practice. He developed some taxidermy techniques of his own, and Dom displayed many of his preserved specimens in his dining room – which he jokingly referred to as “The Man-Cave.” Biology students and Boy Scout troops were frequent visitors to Dom and Kitty’s dining room. Dom was very proud of that room, and it contained not only his collection of preserved animals and birds but also some of his treasured hunting- and fishing-related possessions, such as his hoop nets and knives. Dom collected and preserved the skins of all four North American venomous snakes – diamondback rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin, and copperhead snake. He made many walking canes from deer hooves. Dom was also passionate about writing. His articles were published in many magazines, newspapers, and journals across the country. He set a personal goal of writing and publishing 1,000 articles, and he exceeded that goal. Often, he published several articles during one week. Dom was an avid gardener. Every year, his garden yielded surpluses of tomatoes, green beans, squash, zucchini, potatoes and other vegetables, which he shared with his friends and neighbors. He would grow several varieties of tomatoes, including plum, cherry, yellow, and black-skinned varieties. Dom experimented with growing okra, herbs, pumpkins, cantaloupe, onions, and peppers in his garden. He gave away, froze, or canned most of his garden bounty. No one who knew Dom ever went hungry when Dom grew his garden. One year while living on his in-laws’ farm in North Carolina, Dom planted 110 tomato plants.
Dom was an avid fisherman, hunter, and trapper. Fishing – both fresh and salt water – is an activity, which Dom did during his entire life and was one of his most treasured pleasures. One of his favorite ways to relax was to toss a few traps and hand-lines into a salt-water estuary or bay in the hope of catching a few dozen tasty Blue-Claw Crabs. A few years ago, Dom became a member of the Rochelle Wildlife Conservation Club. Dom enjoyed fishing at the club’s stocked fishing pond. He helped with the club’s annual youth fishing derby. One of his joys was to introduce young boys and girls to the sport of hunting. He bought many fishing rods and reels at garage sales and gave them to children, who didn’t own one. In addition to fishing and hunting, Dom also enjoyed fur trapping. Dom was a member of the Rack &Wing Hunting Club for many years, in Lanark, IL. He enjoyed hunting Ring-Necked Pheasants there with his son Frank and his dogs. Dom owned several dogs during his life. One of his favorites was “Tyson”, a black Labrador retriever, which he rescued from a clinic where his daughter worked . Tyson had Heartworm when he adopted him, but Dom had him treated for it, and nursed him back to health. This dog accompanied Dom on many hunting trips and never failed to recover a wounded pheasant. He is survived by his loving wife Kitty Castaldo; daughter Louise (Matt) Delaplane; son Frank (Kathleen Combs) Castaldo; and grandson Weston “Little Domenick” Castaldo; brothers Michael (Kathy) Castaldo, and Frank (Janice) Castaldo; nieces Jacki (Greg) Ferry, and Gillian Castaldo; nephews Michael (Kristina) Castaldo, Chris (Melissa) Castaldo, and Zachary Castaldo; three great nieces, a nephew, several aunts, uncles, many cousins, and a lot of students, coworkers, and friends. He was predeceased by his parents Frank and Louise Castaldo, grandparents Michael and Pasqualina Novembre, Domenick and Angelina Castaldo, many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and his hunting dogs Alvin, Codie, Tyson, Rudy, and Nicki. Dom’s remains were cremated, according to his wishes, and now Dom is at peace.

Visitation will be at the Farrell Holland Gale Funeral Home , 110 S. 7th St., Oregon, IL on Friday May 19th from 4:00 to 7:00 PM with a rosary recited at 6:30 PM. A funeral mass will be held at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Byron, IL on Saturday May 20th at 10:00 AM.


Friday May 19th 4:00-7:00 PM in FHG--Oregon


Sat. May 20th at St. Mary Catholic Church in Byron

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