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Fred Caskey

Fred Caskey Fred Caskey

Fred E. Caskey passed away peacefully on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

He was born on January 24, 1932, in Phelps, to Elmer and Christine Caskey and was raised on the family homestead on Lac Vieux Desert. Like other members of his family, much of his youth was spent hunting, fishing, trapping and guiding (his first paid job was at age 11).

Fred was a 1950 graduate of Phelps High School. Following graduation, he attended Northland College where he majored in biology and education. In addition to coursework, Fred was an award-winning multisport athlete and a member of the prestigious Northland Choir. It was in the choir that he met his future wife, Faith Porter, who was a featured performer in the choir. They married on August 28, 1954 in Sanborn and were able to celebrate their 67th anniversary prior to her passing in 2021.

Almost immediately after graduating from Northland in 1955, Fred was drafted into military service. His basic training took place at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and he went on to serve in France, where he oversaw entertainment, including a movie theater, gymnasium and bowling alley, at a large army supply depot in Angouléme, France. He completed his deployment with the rank of Sergeant.

Back in the states, Fred joined Faith at Colby High School, where his four decades of service included a long run as a biology teacher, a decade as head football coach, and a short-term role as assistant principal. He was a fantastic instructor known for creating an engaged classroom setting where fun and learning went hand-inhand. Fred was an active community member including many years of involvement with the Colby Lions Club. He was also recognized for his years of dedication to the Hunter’s Safety program for which he received numerous awards, including recognition for instructing over 2000 students. He was extremely proud of this honor.

During summers, Fred returned to the Northwoods where he was a much sought-after fishing guide known for his musky, walleye and trout catching prowess and his ability (often alongside family members like his father) to create memorable and delicious shore-lunch experiences. He was also a hunting guide with a specialization in ducks and grouse. Over his long career (highlighted in the book Guides Past & Present, Wilkinson 2015) he had numerous fishing adventures and guided several notable individuals. One of his favorites was Myrtle Walgreen (wife of Walgreen Drugs founder Charles Walgreen) who was less interested in fishing and more interested in having Fred take her to locations where she could photograph the local flora.

Fred and Faith retired in 1989 and permanently moved to Lac Vieux Desert and into a home built on the lake. He continued to guide for a number of years and also became an active member of the Lac Vieux Desert Lake Association, playing a key leadership role in the annual August Fest, a fish fry, crawfish boil, burger and raffle event which raised funds to support activities like stocking the lake. He was also actively involved with St. Albert’s Catholic Church known for the bean dish and hams he cooked for special events.

Fred was preceded in death by his wife, Faith; his father,ElmerCaskey;mother,Christine(Vonau)Caskey; sister, Phyllis (Schmidt) and brother, Bill Caskey. He is survived by siblings: George Caskey, Darlene Loy, Jane Johnson and Ruth Griswold; children: Blane (Karen) Caskey, Eagle, Idaho, Brad (Wanita) Caskey, Cottage Grove, Minn., Jill (Bruce) Zwiers, Rhinelander and Julie (Steve) Hunsader, Wausau; 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at St. Albert’s in Land O’Lakes in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Fred’s name to Land O’Lakes Historical Museum.

Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home, Eagle River. Online condolences may be expressed at

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