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A feast held in remembrance | Kitsap Week
Chris Casad was a giver.
He gave his time and energy as an active board member of the South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank and the local chapter of the Kiwanis Club.
Professionally, he spent his 33-year career as a public servant working in the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Chris was always the first person to volunteer at our club,” said Cerissa Holme, a friend and fellow Kiwanis Club member. “He always put others’ needs in front of his own.”
Holme and her husband Doug, own the Family Inn at Manchester restaurant, a place where Casad was a frequent customer.
“He’d come down and play darts and cue up any song from the band America,” Holme said. “You’d never know he was a prosecutor. He didn’t flash that on you.”
On Nov. 26, 2010, at the age of 57, Casad died while visiting his daughter in Europe.
As the one-year anniversary of his death approached, Holme and other Kiwanis members didn’t want the date to pass by without remembering Casad.
But how best to honor him?
It didn’t take long for the idea to take shape. They decided to christen a new event and name it the Chris Casad Feast — a free community dinner for those down on their luck.
“We decided to call it a feast because Chris loved to eat. He made no bones about it,” Holme said. “He’s smiling on us, we are sure.”
Because Casad died around Thanksgiving last year, they decided it should be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And because Casad loved to eat at the Family Inn, it should be held there. And since he had spent so much time helping those less fortunate than him and, because he was a huge fan of the band America, the theme of the dinner was taken from the first line of the song “Lonely People:”
This is for all the lonely people, thinking that life has passed them by.
The chips fell into place and the Kiwanis Club successfully raised more than $1,000 for the event.
The dinner will be held on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 23, beginning at 3 p.m. until the last person is served, which Holme is guessing will be around 7 or later.
The plan is to hold the Chris Casad Feast every year, though Holme admits planning for the inaugural event has been tricky.
“There are some challenges,” she said. “Like how many turkeys do I cook? I can always mash up potatoes and quickly make dressing. But how many turkeys do I need?”
The dinner will be traditional Thanksgiving fare, from green beans to pumpkin pie. Employees of the restaurant will prepare and cook the food, while Kiwanis members will serve and greet the guests.
Casad’s mother, Myrna Casad, said she and her two sons are very touched by this event.
“It would be something Chris would have been very pleased about,” she said.
Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said he believed Casad’s reaction to the dinner would be, “Aww, shucks.”
“He was that type of guy,” Hague said. “He was always happy to help out, but never wanted to be in the limelight.”
Holme agreed. “He was one of the most personable people I’ve met,” she said. “He was all about getting to know you. He didn’t talk much about himself.”
Myrna Casad added, “Of course, I’m his mom and all, but he really was a good person. I really appreciate everyone’s efforts surrounding this Thanksgiving meal.”
Chris Casad Feast:
On Nov. 23. Doors open at 3 p.m. The Manchester Family Inn is located at 2386 Colchester Drive, Manchester. Info: (360) 871-8199.