Alan L. Kastl

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Alan L. Kastl of Traverse City, Michigan, passed away on Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Gaylord, Michigan, following an unforgiving battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75 years old.

Alan Lynn Kastl was born on February 6, 1949, in Midland, Michigan, to Arthur R. and Lois E. (Varner) Kastl. He married Suzanne E. Jones on August 3, 1974, in Muskegon, Michigan.

Al graduated from Sanford Meridian High School in 1966, before attending Albion College, where he earned his teaching degree and met his future wife. It was also at Albion where Al developed a talent and passion for football and wrestling. As a two-sport athlete, Al helped lead the football team to back-to-back conference championships and won the MIAA individual title in heavyweight wrestling.

Dedicated to providing high school youth with those same opportunities, Al enriched the lives of thousands of students and student-athletes in his roles as English teacher, coach, and Director of Athletics at various high schools in Macomb County, Michigan. Remaining devoted to the sport of wrestling in the state of Michigan, Al went on to serve the Michigan Wrestling Federation as chairman (22 years) and president (8 years). He was a member of the USA Wrestling Board of Directors and chairman of the Greco-Roman Sport Committee. In 1996, Al was team leader for the Summer Olympics Greco-Roman Wrestling Team in Atlanta. He also found great joy in announcing at MSU wrestling meets as well as the Michigan High School State Wrestling Tournament, which he helped bring to the city of Detroit where it still takes place today. Throughout his renowned coaching career, Al was inducted into the Albion College Athletics Hall of Fame, the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, the Michigan High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Michigan Chapter). He was truly a great leader of young men and a mentor to many.

Outside of his wrestling commitments, Al could be found working on crossword puzzles, watching political newscasts on repeat, supporting University of Michigan athletics, and spending time with his beloved granddaughters—mostly teaching them age-appropriate wrestling moves. Ever the coach, some of his proudest teaching moments included counseling his son, first as a collegiate student-athlete and then as a collegiate and professional football coach.

Upon retirement as a high school administrator, Al substitute-taught and volunteered as a high school football coach at Fraser High School—his first home following college—into his 70s. He and Sue often vacationed to their Scottsdale, Arizona residence and permanently relocated to Traverse City the year before his death. He had fond memories of his time in Northern Michigan with his extended family.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Suzanne; son, Jeffrey and his wife (Katie); three granddaughters, Maeve, Hannah, and Murphy; siblings, Larry (Rhonda) and Nancy (Bill) Long; and a large extended family that he held very dearly. Following Alan’s wishes, there will be a Celebration of Life in Summer 2024 to come together, share stories, and remember a life well-lived.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial contribution to the Get To® Foundation (a foundation in honor of Al’s late nephew, Ben Jones), 14700 Farmington Rd, Suite 107, Livonia, MI 48154, www.gettofoundation.org or the Alzheimer’s Association®, www.alz.org

Arrangements were entrusted to Nelsons Funeral Home, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.

39 comments on “Alan L. Kastl”

  1. Beautiful testament to Mr. Kastl. He was my husband’s coach at Fraser High School. He was well liked and very much respected. God bless.

  2. There are no words to truly describe Coach Kastl. A man’s man, a leaders leader and a father to many. I knew your Dad as a student from Fraser and later as a teacher alongside him. His impact on young people has lasted decades and I am certain his words are being spoken today by the many coaches he spawned through his years. We all fed off of his energy, passion and commitment to his students and athletes. Truly a remarkable man. So sorry for the void he has caused by leaving, but may you be filled by the life and the lives he influenced. God Bless to you all.

    1. To the family of Coach K, Outside of academics coach K was a very influential person in my high school career . It was the lesson of walking out on the mat alone to face the competition. No excuses, no second chances. He taught that without being a tyrant. He had me practice with multiple state qualifiers. It wasn’t until later I understood why . We all made each other better for that time on the mat I do have to apologize for the stress I caused him by having lousy first periods. I usually fixed the deficit in the second. I did get to understand Coach K connection to my family when he stopped by my father’s funeral. Goodbye coach K. Your sport will miss you.

  3. Coach Kastl , Thanks for the great memories at Fraser HS in the classroom and on the football field and the mats. Always enjoyed my time spent in your classroom. Rest In Heaven 🙏

  4. Coach KAStl was a great roll model for me as a young man playing football and wrestling at Fraser High school , I was shocked to see him still on the football field at Fraser when I was at my son’s football game I was proud to tell my son that coach Kastl was my coach also and I knew my son was in good hands with him there coaching , I will remember him as a kind man and a hard worker , my condolences to his family .

  5. My heartfelt condolences to the family & friends of Mr. Kastl. I remember having him as a substitute for many of my classes throughout high school. May he rest peacefully.

  6. I loved Mr. Kastl and am so grateful that he was a big part of my life, first when I was a kid in Clinton Township, and later at U of M. During each period, he was a source of great support, encouragement, and confidence. My memories of him will forever be fond. Much love to Jeff, Sue, Kate, the girls, and all the Kastls and Jones I’ve known through the years.

    – DJ

  7. Mary Kay Ritter Osgood

    Mr. Kastl was my favorite person at Fraser High School while I was attending (graduated in 1976)! He always had words of encouragement and he always took time to listen! He was one of those people I knew I would never forget! Rest in peace, Mr. Kastl!❤️💔

  8. Sue, Jeff and family. We are very sorry for your loss. Al will be missed by those he guided in football and wrestling. Fond memories of early Saturday morning trips to distant wrestling meets. Hugs to your family.
    Janet, Steve and the entire Gerebics family

  9. AK,

    You had a profound effect on my ability to believe all things imagined are possible and more… if you just simply believe in yourself and your abilities. You instilled that belief in me and many more. Your legacy lives on in the many athletes you inspired, from wrestling, to football to track and field and more… Your spirit & legacy lives on in us all. Rest in peace, great coach.

  10. Kathy Fraser Maguire

    His football coach at Albion College, Morley Fraser, would have been so proud of the life Alan lived by influencing so many athletes on the football and wrestling teams he coached. It’s not just about winning, but winning at life. Alan did that. The Fraser family sends their sympathies to the extended Kastl family and friends.

  11. “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, think on such things.” Phillipians 4:8
    Al was a person a great character. He positively touched the lives of so many and his values live on in them. I have lost a good wrestling and football coaching friend. John Bassier, Ferndale High

  12. You will always be remembered for your contributions in the classroom, on the football field, and on the mat. You and coaches around the world need to understand, and be lauded for the positive impact you had in the development, maturing, and growth of young men. Sleep well, my friend..

  13. My best memories of Al are that he loved personal conversations. Those conversations always revolved around you.

    He quite simply wanted to know how you were doing, your spouse, your family. Those talks always included his great big smile, laughs and positive vibes.

    Al was why I got hired at Fraser. A coaching friend of mine back in Bay City was real good friends with him—and I told him there was an opening at FHS—he called Al and the rest is history.

    I am forever grateful for all of the ‘Fraser’ people in my life and it was all because of Al.

    The lives Al touched through the classroom and coaching will carry on for years to come.

    My condolences Sue, Jeff, Kate and grandchildren he was a great man.

    May you rest in peace AK!

  14. There wasn’t a wrestler in the state for 50 yrs that didn’t cross paths with Al Kastl. The same can be said of wrestling coaches. He led many and inspired many. The memories we have could be retold for years. Al definitely changed my life for the better. A warrior, a role model, a friend to all, and a great family man. Rest in peace my friend. We will reunite mat side some day.

  15. Dave & Linda Van Howe

    A good man. Our condolences to Sue, Jeff, and the rest of the family. Heaven has gained another star.

  16. Stephen Hendershott

    Al is a great mentor of myself and countless others! I will miss his smile, greeting, and knowledge! R.I.P. Al!

  17. An awesome teacher & coach, but an even better man. He instilled toughness, while making you laugh. A rare combination indeed. RIP, Coach!

  18. Michael Pantaleo

    Met Mr Kastl thru the sport of wrestling. I had just lost to his wrestler and he congratulated me on a hard fought match. I needed that encouragement to keep going and to get better. Always had an encouraging word whenever I talked with him. Thank you for giving back to the sport we love. You made an impact on many lives. Condolences to the family from the Pantaleo’s and God Bless.

  19. The heart of the Fraser Alumni Family has developed a significant hole with the passing of Al Kastl. I knew Al from several angles as we worked together for years with Fraser Schools.

    By far, my grandest memories of Al came from watching him at wrestling matches. Al’s antics ranged from dropping to mat level (to gain wrestler eye contact) to jumping for joy (for a successful move). His passion emanated as he shouted encouragement with his trademark, cracking voice. During a match, Al worked nearly as hard as each wrestler. It was clear that his heart was on the mat, wrestling side-by-side with his athletes.

    Not only did Al lead the Fraser wrestling program to glory, but he was a well respected state leader for his work with the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

    This “Comment Page” is filled with glowing testimonials on how Al positively affected Fraser High School students, wrestlers and football players. More heartfelt tributes are found on Al’s Facebook page. Just search for “Al Kastl” to sample more thoughts on Al’s lasting legacy.

    Condolences to Sue, Jeff and Katie. I hope the tributes from the lives Al touched help you through this time of grief.

  20. Al was foremost a friend, a fraternity brother, a football linemate and a ride share buddy back to Midland from Albion. He was a gentle giant. He loved sports. He was a joy to be around. I ,as many others, will miss him dearly. We had talked of returning again to cheer the Britons on to victory. Our time together will have to wait.

  21. Big Al – teammate, friend, fraternity brother, suite mate. The ‘gentle giant’ who would give you his shirt off of his back, and at the same time a fierce competitor. An honorable man who will be missed. Condolences to Sue and family.
    John & Mary Jenkins

  22. Nick Komlenovich

    So sorry for your loss of a great man. Mr Kastl was my varsity football coach. I know most of you know him from wrestling. But alot forget he was a football coach as well. Great great man. Always fair, always joking around. My favorite memory of coach was back in 1988 or 89 on New years day when they had all the bowl games. I always had a bunch of my friends over all day to watch the games. I invited coach Kastl and he actually showed up. He spent quality time with all his players watching games and just being our friend, not our coach and teacher. That meant alot to all of us. What a phenomenal man he was. Rest in peace coach.

  23. Coach Kastl was the epitome of a coach – on and off the field. Joyfully intense and incredibly passionate, his sports knowledge knew no bounds and the stories he would tell left the entire locker room entranced.

    He was a great man who left a permanent imprint on the Michigan sports world. I know he is looking down at us, surely, talking about how well the Houston Texans’ offensive line could run the ball in 2012 (it’s all in the footwork).

    Until we meet again, Coach.

  24. To Mrs Kastl, Jeff and family,

    I am so sorry for the loss of Mr. Kastl. He was such a great man and will be missed by many. He sure loved you Jeff. My mom was the babysitter for Jeff when he was little and he spent alot of time with us so they were Like family. I will be keeping you all in thought and prayer.

    Lisa Brinning-Tomlin

  25. Al was my coach years ago at the freestyle national championships in Iowa. He was a great encourager, and had a fierce belief and every individual. I remember him being highly competitive, but at the same time very relational. Over the years, I knew Al as a coach, and as a friend. He was an inspiration to me in the sport of wrestling. God bless his family with great memories and much comfort!

  26. Al brought people together. He was the happy, trustworthy, loyal person in the room always. A friend for 58 years, Al left his mark on so many young adults and old time friends. I loved him and I miss him.

  27. Al was one of the most personable and down-to-earth people I’ve ever met and wore his heart on his sleeve. I was Al’s Secretary when he was AD at Chippewa Valley. Everything everybody has already said is so very true. Al was especially passionate about Football and Wrestling, but loved all sports and truly cared about all the kids competing. He was definitely a Coach and Teacher through and through. I loved the seven years I worked with him, and grew to love Sue and Jeff just as much. To see, hear and feel the pride and joy he exuded when Jeff was competing was truly fun to watch! I’m so happy I was able to be there and share with the Kastl family their excitement as they all realized a dream come true when Jeff led the Big Reds to their first State Championship! I cherish those memories and hope Al knew how much he meant to so many people. Sue and Jeff, I hope that brings you some comfort as well.
    All my Love, Lynne Perryman.

  28. Coach Kastl had huge impact coaching me his last year at Fraser Football. Always talking positivity into me when I needed it the most. I appreciated him more than I probably ever got to tell him!! God Bless a great man!

  29. Please accept my condolences. I have many fond memories of Al from Albion College and always enjoyed seeing him at the games and alumni events. Please find comfort in knowing he successfully followed his dreams and left his mark on so many lives. May he rest in peace.

  30. AK. I was heartbroken to learn you had passed away. You were my mentor, coach, and the biggest influence through the most crucial years of my life. You taught me to be a man. You were old school, no non sense, and passionate. You taught me there’s always someone tougher out there. Someone always working harder. You kept things in perspective. The lessons you taught me in our many heart to heart conversations have carried me through life and taught me the mental toughness to be the man I am today. I still hear your huge voice(until you would lose it) Such a huge presence such a man. They don’t build them like AK anymore and I’m grateful to have been one of the many people that was impacted by your greatness. I love you AK. My condolences to Mrs. Kastl and Jeff God bless your family.

  31. I echo everything that has been said about AK. He was and will always be a positive influence on my family. His footprints leave messages of kindness, caring, concern – and, simply put, how to be the best you can be. Rest In Peace, Coach.

  32. Sending our thoughts and prayers to all of you. Memories are wonderful things.
    With love, Patti and Tim Doerr and family

  33. Nathaniel Mesyn

    AK was an amazing coach, teacher, and mentor. He was a major part of my life in High School and beyond. He had a huge impact on the lives of so many and will be missed. He was incredible at encouraging students and athletes to give it their best, I use some of the same methods when coaching today. I always tell people how impressive it was that he would have a full JV and Varsity lineup year after year in a sport that wasn’t mainstream, that speaks for itself on how great of a person he was to be around and at bringing people together.

    My condolences to Mrs. Kastl and Jeff. Rest in peace Coach Kastl.

  34. Kurt Kieleszewski

    In my life I’ve had the privilege to be coached and mentored by many fantastic men. Coach Al is high atop the list. His affection for athletics was unmatched, but perhaps more importantly was his desire to shape and inspire boys into strong willed young men and good human beings. His heart was every bit as large as he himself, but shared amongst the thousands and thousands of people who were fortunate to know him. It was an absolute joy to run into him unexpectedly a few years ago as we both were involved with Fraser HS Football. He will be missed. God Bless and may you rest in peace, sir.

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