From the UPMC Mercy Ambulatory Center in Uptown to St. Louise de Marillac Catholic Church in Upper St. Clair, Lucian Caste's architectural feats have adorned the landscape of the Pittsburgh area for decades.
The talent Mr. Caste brought to his professional life resulted in important board memberships at Carnegie Mellon University and Fallingwater, but those closest to Mr. Caste remember him for his role as "commander in chief" of his family. He spent his weekends with his wife and children, and he never tired of tending to the plants and farm animals that populated his roughly 40 acres in Upper St. Clair.
Mr. Caste, a skillful architect who was committed to philanthropy and loyal to his family, died of complications stemming from a brain hemorrhage Wednesday. He was 88.
"He was an incredibly thoughtful and generous and intelligent man," said Mr. Caste's niece and goddaughter, Christine Danielson, 65. "He made more friends and better friends than anybody I know. He had a great knack of meeting people."
After enlisting in the Marine Corps at the age of 18, Mr. Caste was involved in the attack on the Japanese stronghold on Iwo Jima, fighting a 36-day battle during World War II. He went on to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and at Carnegie Institute of Technology, eventually joining the family development business, which built the Caste Village shopping center in Whitehall.
Although his career kept him working from early in the morning until well into the evening, Mr. Caste was a strong father figure to his daughter, Cicely Caste, 63.
Ms. Caste remembers her father walking the periphery of their home in Upper St. Clair at least once per weekend, maintaining a fence he had constructed largely alone to contain the farm animals that roamed the property.
As he grew older and retired from work roughly a decade ago, Mr. Caste served on various advisory boards and committees, including at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Ms. Caste said her father's involvement at Carnegie Mellon was particularly important to him. He was a strong proponent of its worldwide expansion, first to Silicon Valley in California and later to Qatar. He also helped organize a conference in Pittsburgh for 22 organizations that Andrew Carnegie originally established.
At Fallingwater, Mr. Caste provided expert advice for a large renovation that took place roughly a decade ago. Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater, said Mr. Caste was a "gentle" member of the board who gave suggestions on the renovation without being overbearing or domineering.
Even as Mr. Caste began to fall ill two years ago, he remained involved in the family business. Just two weeks ago, he sat in on a business meeting for the family firm, Caste Companies, and provided poignant advice, Ms. Caste recalled.
"Even though he was ill, he came out to the table and he chaired this meeting and he told us that we had an opportunity that we should not ignore, and he told us that we should seize that opportunity and go forward," Ms. Caste said. "We were all kind of stunned because he's this 80-year-old man who is still in complete control and in complete charge."
Ms. Caste said her father inherited his impulse to steer and take charge of the family from his own father, who had escaped poverty in Italy and become a successful developer in Western Pennsylvania by 1925.
In addition to his daughter and goddaughter, Mr. Caste is survived by his brother, Felix Caste of Scott, and a grandson.
Visitation will be held Monday and Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Beinhauer Mortuary, 2828 Washington Road, Peters. Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Louise de Marillac Church in Upper St. Clair, followed by a gravesite service for family and invited friends at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Canonsburg.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture or the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Daniel Sisgoreo: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1410 or on Twitter @DanielSisgoreo.