There are few people to whom the adjective “great” can justifiably be applied. There are fewer still who have earned the title “judge” as well. Don Castor, who died April 9, was truly one of those few. Whether greatness can be measured by one’s legacy, accomplishments or character, Don Castor’s greatness shone brightly in all three.
I had the good fortune to meet Don 40 years ago when he was in private law practice in Temple Terrace. Though our career paths seldom crossed, Don always found the time to get together for an occasional luncheon, where he would insist on paying for his meal. His reputation for fairness in the courtroom was widely known.
On one chance encounter before his bench in a dispute over the terms of a business lease, Judge Castor immediately recused himself when he saw that I was a party to the dispute. I am convinced to this day that my opponent, who was a large and influential business property owner, quickly agreed to settle out of court primarily on the strength of Don’s courtroom acknowledgment of our friendship.
Perhaps a man’s greatest legacy manifests itself through his children. Though still unfolding, there, too, Judge Castor’s contribution to the community is obvious to us all. Don Castor’s legacy will live on as long as there is honesty, integrity and friendship in this world.
Land O’ Lakes