Donald Jeffrey Casser (“DJ” to his friends and Jeff within the family) succumbed to lung cancer and its related complications on January 13 at Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee. He is preceded in death by his father, Donald G. Casser, and is survived by his mother, Carolyn Casser (Wauwatosa); sister, Linda Casser Locke (Philadelphia), brother-in-law, Keith E. Locke, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Jeff was born on May 8, 1955, in New Hampshire while his father served as a pilot with the US Navy and spent the majority of his life in Wauwatosa and Milwaukee. From his earliest years, he expressed an independent spirit and creative approach to his life. After graduation from Wauwatosa East High School, he attended and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance. He pursued a career in the commodities exchange arena, holding a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and working as an active trader there for approximately eight years. Upon leaving Chicago and after a brief tenure as a desk Trader for Baird in Milwaukee, Jeff decided to strike out on his own entirely with the founding of his Milwaukee-based company, Black Diamond Racing. His creativity and focus upon perfection resulted in highly crafted, beautifully finished, patent-protected (his own patent), carbon fiber-derived boards and cones, designed to minimize electronic interference and vibration for very high end stereo components. His primary customers were international stereo aficionados who appreciated both the performance and beauty of his products.
Born into a sail boat racing family and active in the Milwaukee Yacht Club for years, Jeff served as crew and skipper for many, many races, including top three finishes in the annual Chicago-Mackinac Race. At Penn, Jeff earned a letter in crew, plying the waters of the Schuylkill River. He exhibited his free spirit in many ways, including go-cart racing, motorcycles, and active membership in the Patriot Guard Riders, supporting fallen American soldiers and their families. Known for his attention to detail and demand for perfection in his projects, he has left many reminders of his excellent craftsmanship in hand-made model ships, exquisite furniture pieces, and in ornate carpentry work in his family home. His products from Black Diamond Racing will serve as his legacy for beauty, craftsmanship, product performance, and unswerving attention to detail.
Jeff and his family wish to expressly thank the nurses, doctors, and support staff at Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee for the care, compassion, and professionalism so consistently and considerately shared with Jeff and his family. While we are deeply sorry to lose Jeff in the prime of life, his battle with cancer was a very difficult one that he fought bravely, and we are confident that he is now at peace.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, beginning at 4:00 PM until the time of service at 6:00 PM at Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home at 10121 West North Avenue, Wauwatosa.
Remembrances may be sent choice in Jeff’s memory to the Wisconsin Humane Society or to the charity of your choice.