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Joshua Casteel (In Memory) bio picture
  • "If I am bound to the belief that God is in control of the cosmos, and miracles can and do happen, then there is no 'hypothetical situation' wherein God's ability to perform miracles through the faithful actions of the merciful ceases to be a possibility."

    Joshua's above words continue to resonate with us, his family, friends and acquaintances seeking to live out that same belief. Though he is no longer with us bodily, we strive to faithfully remember and testify to Joshua's witness among us, through the establishment of The Joshua Casteel Foundation and other initiatives on which we will continue to provide update through this website. Thank you for joining us.

    "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." (Wisdom 4:7)

    Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), which ultimately took his life on August 25, 2012 at the age of 32. The many of us who survive and love him will continue to pursue the heavenly justice to which Joshua (in life, and now in death) testified.

Brief Update

I wanted to post a short update to this long-dormant site, for those of you who might not be following on CaringBridge or Facebook.

Joshua has checked back into the ER in New York. His condition has taken a step back in the last few days. I know that he and his family would cherish your prayers and support in the coming days, and thank you all again for the love you have demonstrated and continue to show.


Chemo and Radiation

Hi – this will be a quick update but I did want to let you know that Joshua started a chemotherapy regimen on Friday and today he begins another 14 day course of radiation on two spots on his spine. We are praying that the radiation provides some pain relief. For the last 8 weeks or so Joshua’s pain has been consistently at a 7-8. He is unable to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time – and anyone with an infant can tell you that this sort of sleep deprivation is a recipe for insanity. One hour 8 times is not the same as 8 hours of sleep!!  Joshua’s daily routine is truly an exercise in faith and perseverance.

The plan for chemo is a series of 3 cycles. The first 21 day cycle is with a drug called Alimta. The next two 21 day cycles will be a combination of Alimta/Cysplatin. He will be scanned at the end of the cycle and assuming it is working the plan is to immediately complete two more full cycles for a total of 27 weeks. 

We also continue to explore alternatives.  If I win the lottery the first thing I would do with the money is fund research into alternative therapies. We have so far to go in this country and around the world with respect to cancer and I read yesterday that the WHO predicts a 75% increase in cancer cases worldwide by 2030.  Depressing for sure. 

Thank you all for your continued support of Joshua and our family. We read him every comment and I know he cherishes each and every one of them.

– Rebekah

June 4, 2012 - 3:25 PM

Chad - I’m glad to see a post back on this site. The switch to Caring Bridge always seems to coincide with more difficult times, and it’d be great for you all to be moving away from that again for a spell.

Thanks for the updates, Rebekah!

June 6, 2012 - 10:13 PM

Tammy - Continuing to pray for ALL of you EVERY SINGLE DAY!



July 30, 2012 - 3:44 PM

Deirdre Clancy - Dear Joshua & loved ones of Joshua,

I only heard recently from a peace activist with whom I acted against the Iraq war that you were struggling with lung cancer. I saw a close relative go through the same in recent years. For this and other reasons, I wanted to write to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

I don’t know if you remember me from your visits to Ireland. I was one of the Pitstop Ploughshares group; you kindly spoke at some of our events, one of which I chaired. I have always remembered you as one of the most articulate, honest and rational members of the anti-war community worldwide, but also as someone with a palpable sense of mission and calling. Memories of the high-caliber spokespeople are something I treasure, particularly during times when I became a little jaded and cynical about some of the less-rational elements of the movement.

I will be praying for your recovery so you can continue with your important life’s mission; and I will also pray that God grants you the strength to get through what I know can be difficult and draining treatments.

Yours in Christ,

A Quick Switcheroo!

Hopefully this doesn’t cause too many problems, but we’re going to switch back to Caring Bridge temporarily. The updates come out quite a bit faster (I don’t usually get my updates til the following day on this website), and with Josh’s current condition it is nice to know people are getting the info/prayer request/etc. soon after its put out. So, if you click on the link above that says CaringBridge Posts, you will be directed there, and if you’re not already signed up, create a quick account and you can go right to his page. Thanks everyone, and when we are ready to switch back we will let you know!

December 16, 2014 - 3:55 PM

Amber Hunt - I’m a journalist who happened to be looking at my archived stories from long ago in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. I stumbled upon this lede, and it triggered a memory of being floored by Joshua Casteel a show I reviewed: “‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ is Joshua Casteel’s debut production at Theatre Cedar Rapids, and TCR will be lucky to have him back.”

I Googled to see how his life played out, and, while I’m not surprised to learn he made a lasting impression before his departure, I’m sorry to learn of his passing. The story, in its entirety, is posted below, just in case you’re feeling nostalgic.

Best to his friends and family. I’ve known loss, and I send my sympathies.

TCR’s ‘Joseph’ is fun and full of energy
Amber Hunt Gazette staff writer
Published: July 18, 1999

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is Joshua Casteel’s debut production at Theatre Cedar Rapids, and TCR will be lucky to have him back. The 19-year-old, cast as the musical’s title character, received a well-deserved standing ovation at curtain call. His sensitive yet powerful solo, “Close Every Door,” is alone worth the $17 to see this production, which runs through Aug. 1.
Luckily, however, Casteel’s not the only draw.
When done well, a musical like “Joseph” is the perfect night at the theater for those who choose not to go often. It’s short – barely more than two hours – and full of energy.
Well, TCR has done it well.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph” tells the biblical story of Joseph and his 11 brothers. The brothers grow jealous because Joseph is their father’s favorite son, so they sell Joseph into slavery and tell their father he was killed. Years pass, however, and Joseph fulfills premonitions of greatness by becoming the Pharoah’s right-hand man before forgiving his brothers.
The play features several incredible solos, including “One More Angel in Heaven,” sung beautifully with a country-and-western flair by Zach Parker. There also are the hilarious “Those Canaan Days,” performed by Danny Johnson, and “Benjamin Calypso,” by Jason Coyne.
Christy DeMeulenaere is wonderful as the Narrator, who ties together the scenes through song. DeMeulenaere has an incredibly strong voice, but her acting doesn’t stop when she’s out of the spotlight. Her facial expressions throughout the show help keep the story rolling.
Everyone did a great job, but it’s Casteel who makes your jaw drop. His four years of show choir at Washington High School definitely serve him well here, as his voice shifts deftly from trembling and defeated to triumphant and powerful.
The musical also features 36 children, to whom the Narrator tells the story of Joseph. A couple of the kids have learned the fine art of over-acting at an early age.
There were a few other minor glitches as well, many of which can be attributed to opening night problems. Faltering microphones detracted from a couple of solos, while the Elvis Presley-drawl of The Pharoah, played by Richard Akers, is funny but sometimes too thick to understand the words.
Still, this production is a treat. Steve Smith’s lighting adds great depth, and the gaudy, Las Vegas-styled costumes are great eye candy.
It’s fun, energetic and incredibly sung. You can’t ask for much more than that.

thank you

I just want to say thank you to those of you who have recently written in response to Joshua’s latest battle with pain and now his surgery. I’m reminded of Moses in the scriptures who had his arms held up to keep blessing and victory flowing to the Israellites, but I think we are being held up completely by the love and support of so many. The scriptures, poems, words of encouragement all serve to hold us up and keep us going. We really feel that we are not in this alone. How gracious God has been and is to us. I pray for each of you in your personal struggles, which I know we all have, that God will give you strength and encouragement from others and in many other creative ways that only He can.

There’s a verse of scripture I have always loved and have desired for it to be true in my life and in those around me. But it is not easy to live nor is it always apparent in our churches and communities. “And they will know that you are Christians by the great love that you have for one another”. And, of course the more well known verse, “faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” God is making these truths a reality in our lives and we feel very very blessed. But it is because of all of you and your selfless acts of kindness on our behalf. Suffering is made so much more tolerable in the midst of love. I so pray that God is building this truth into my heart and soul…but I know we will NEVER be able to repay the kindness and love we’ve received. It has truly been “above and beyond all that we can ask or think”.

Both Joshua and I are nervous (you can see I am still awake at 2:30am and he just got up to check on me and fix his sweaty sheets) but we both know that this new experience of surgery is surely going to create some anxiousness. How fortunate we are to KNOW that we have a God who is is total control. Our anxiety would be much greater, to say the least. Feelings come and go, but our faith lasts forever.

I will let you all know how the surgery goes tomorrow and hopefully I will have a good report with the word ‘pain’ absent from the description. (that might be a little too much wishful thinking, especially right after surgery, but at least the pain that he has endured from this latest ‘find’ of cancer be substantially reduced). Who knows…God may surprise us!

Love to you all,
Kristi and Joshua

May 11, 2012 - 9:34 PM

Elizabeth Moriarty - Dearest Joshua (and Kristi), the people in darkness have seen a great light. Truly you are the light for so many! Tears of joy and prayers are flowing for you. Deep peace and much love, Elizabeth

Week’s Lesson…Stay Flexible!!!

Well, this am. I got a call from Dr. Seigal’s office letting us know that Joshua’s surgery time has been changed again. (I heard Dr. Seigal is very very busy and if I were him I’d rather be out to dinner with my wife than in the operating room anyday).

So the new time is now still Friday (thank heavens) but at 2:00. We check in at noon, which means less wait time so I guess that’s good. And Joshua isn’t unhappy about it being earlier at all. So we’re counting it as a blessing. Just thought we’d let you know!!

If we get a call telling us to come in today, you’ll probably hear from us after it’s all over and done!!! 🙂

Sending our love to you,
Kristi and Joshua