Born in Uniondale, Long Island, on Feb. 13, 1937, to Mary and Bill Cassel, along with his sisters, Jean Gilrane and Joan Kelly, James (“Jim”) Cassel passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.
Jim grew up in Southold, N.Y., and moved to Patchogue in 1952. Throughout his high school career at Patchogue-Medford High School before graduating in 1955, he was active in football, basketball, and track and field, serving as captain of many teams and receiving an “All-American” in football. Jim received a football athletic scholarship from the University of Bridgeport, where he was elected captain of his football team and president of his fraternity, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in business.
Jim worked with his father, mother and sister Joan in the family business, Cassel Trucks, once the largest GMC dealership on Long Island. Jim remained CEO and president of Cassel Trucks for over 35 years, retiring in 2009. Throughout its history, Cassel Trucks represented General Motors, Volvo, Hino, Iveco and Mercedes franchises, and was one of the largest truck parts distributors on Long Island.
While Jim and his family were running a successful business at Cassel Trucks, he and his wife, Carol, became active real-estate investors and owned various business on Fire Island, the South Fork and the North Fork. In 1989, Jim and his friends saw an opportunity to enter the growing wine industry on the North Fork and purchased a 36-acre vineyard in Cutchogue. Island Vineyards successfully grew, harvested and produced grapes for wine for many years, and now operates as Pellegrini Vineyards.
Jim was always willing to volunteer and give of himself. As a former member of Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus and Ducks Unlimited, he donated his time to help others in the community. Jim spent many years as a proud supporter of St. Joseph the Worker, including serving on the finance committee. Years ago, when funds were low, Jim rallied his friends and family to donate materials and time to install and cut each ceiling tile in the church — the ceiling was completed in a weekend and is still up today.
Nothing brought a smile to Jim’s face faster than spending time with his family and friends. Jim enjoyed traveling the world to hunt and fish with his friends and son, including South America and Africa. He and his family, along with close family friends, went on worldwide adventures. Jim loved boating on Bellport Bay and the Sound and teaching his children and grandchildren woodworking and how to fish and dig for clams. He delighted in bird-watching and regaling his family with tales of how big a fish he just caught. Jim and his wife loved watching their grandkids’ concerts, academic achievement ceremonies and athletic games (oftentimes being the loudest cheering section). His family and friends lovingly remember him for his passion for family, friends, faith and generosity.
Jim is survived by his wife of 62 years, Carol; his three children, Crystie Ciriello (and husband, Frank), Allyson Bradley (and wife, Mary) and Bill Cassel (and wife, Ann); three grandchildren, Catherine Ciriello, Jonathan Ciriello (and wife, Jamila) and James Bradley; and one great-grandchild, Liana Ciriello.
A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, at St. Patrick’s Church in Southold.
Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport assisted the family.
Memorial donations can be made in memory of James Cassel to Southold Police Department, P.O. Box 911, Peconic NY 11958.
This is a paid notice.