Roger Karl Kastel, beloved husband, father, uncle, and friend died Wednesday November 8, 2023 at age 92 in Worcester County, MA. He was born in White Plains, NY on June 11,1931, the son of Anna and Karl Kastel. After graduating from White Plains High School, Roger attended the Art Students League in New York City until serving in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Korean War. He was a proud American.
During the Korean War, Roger was stationed in California and Hawaii. While in California, Roger met and fell in love with Grace Trowbridge. Upon returning to New York City after the war, Roger married Grace and happily took minor art jobs (ie, sweeping floors and delivering completed art for an art studio) in the hopes of getting his foot in the door. He was thrilled to have the opportunity to be around artists. Roger eventually landed a job drawing cartoons for Reddy Kilowatt (an electric advertising company) and returned to the Art Students League to study.
Roger got his first paying art job at the age of 15 doing industrial cartoons. He sold his first illustration in the early 1960s and illustrated paperback book covers and movie posters over the next forty years. Roger worked for all of the major publishers In New York City. Included in his over 1,000 illustrations were the movie posters for the iconic Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back. Roger’s painting of Jaws is included in the books,
The Illustrator in American and 200 Years of American Illustration. While Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back may be the most widely recognized of his work, Roger received multiple awards for various other illustrations and fine art over the years.
While in New York City, Roger lived in Greenwich Village with his wife and two children until 1970 when they moved to beautiful Clove Valley in Duchess County, NY where Roger and Grace lived for the next 45 years. They retired to Milford, MA in 2013 where Roger continued to paint fine art, exhibiting in art shows and galleries. After moving to Milford, Roger became a member of the Wellesley Society of Artists in Wellesley, MA. Roger truly loved the art world; paintings, artists, art museums, and galleries. Early in their relationship, Roger informed Grace, “Art is my life,” and it was!
Roger is survived by his wife Grace of 66 years (born in Bethel CT), his daughter Beth Krebs and her husband Michael of Sherborn, MA and his son Matthew Kastel and his wife Karen of Monrovia, MD. Roger was the proud grandfather of Jessica and Glen Krebs and Luke and Grant Kastel as well as his great-grandson Liam Kirk-Krebs. Roger is also survived by several nieces, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
In lieu of flowers his family requests donations to The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc., 47 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10003. One of Roger’s favorite charities, The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. is a charitable organization that assists professional artists in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement.