William Castor and George H.W. Bush

Passing of Professor William “Doc” Castor

Political Science Professor William “Doc” Castor passed away Nov. 20, 2017 at the Freighter View extended care facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., after a brief illness. He was 88. Castor, who was hired by Lake Superior State College President Kenneth Shouldice in 1971, taught political science and history to thousands of students over the years until his retirement as full professor in May 1994. Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees granted him emeritus status on May 3, 1996.

William Negus Castor was born to Lewis Frank, Jr., and Mary (Negus) Castor in Philadelphia, Pa., on Aug. 8, 1929. The summer before he started university at Middlebury College, Vermont, Castor served as an usher at the 1948 Republican National Convention, hosted in his hometown. He attended every GOP convention after that – often as a State delegate – until health prevented him from going to the 2004 convention.

He was one of 21 Electoral College delegates from Michigan who cast votes for incumbent president and former Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford, who took Michigan in the 1976 general election. Aside from participating in GOP governance at the county, state, and national levels, Castor threw his hat in the ring for Congress in 1992 as an Independent.

Castor earned a baccalaureate from Middlebury in 1951 and a Master of Arts from Columbia University in 1952. He taught two years in the early 1960s as a guest Fulbright Scholar at Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie University in the capitol city, Addis Ababa. He was granted a doctorate in international studies from the University of Denver in 1975.

Castor was a world traveler whose journeys between 1950 and 2000 took in 69 countries on seven continents. It was during a 1989 trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad that Castor struck up a friendship with Soviet army conscript Evgeny Kanikovsky. Castor sponsored him the following summer to attend Lake State, where he finished a degree in finance and economics in 1994. Kanikovsky is now chief financial officer for a public utility in Florida.

Castor’s specialty for 22 years at Lake State was international relations and comparative politics. He especially enjoyed teaching the course he created, Government and Politics of the Middle East. He also taught constitutional law, introduction to legal processes, and introduction to American government and politics.

Castor was a founding faculty member of the Arrowhead Model United Nations, a multiple-day intercollegiate simulation of the United Nations that was established in 1976. These ongoing conferences typically involve 200-300 students from 15-20 colleges and universities in the upper Midwest and Canada. Castor took LSSU students to regional Arrowhead conferences from 1977 until his retirement in 1994. For four of those years, he organized and hosted the conference at LSSU. Castor was also a long-time faculty participant in the activities of LSSU’s Political Science Club, and continued attending even after he retired, through 2014.

Castor is preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Lewis Frank Castor III. He is survived by nephew Lewis Frank Castor IV of Sault, Mich.; grand-nephew William Castor, of Miami, Fla.; as well as cousins Jane Mebus (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Bruce Castor – senior and junior – both of Montgomery County, Pa.

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