Former State Sen. Harold Caskey remembered

Friday, October 2, 2015

Nevada Daily Mail

Former 31st District Sen. Harold Caskey left behind a legacy of public service upon his death Thursday.

According to published reports, Caskey had been hospitalized since Wednesday after choking on a piece of food that cut off his air supply.

Caskey, elected to the Senate in 1976, served Cass, Bates, Vernon, Barton and Henry Counties, a position now held by Ed Emery.

Caskey retired at the end of 2004 and was officially recognized for his service in a resolution in the Senate by the late Ike Skelton.

Prior to his career in the Senate, Caskey served as prosecuting attorney for Bates County, as the Butler city prosecutor, and as an associate professor at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State).

During his legislative career, he held positions as the Senate Majority Assistant Floor Leader, the Senate Majority Caucus Chair, the Senate Majority Floor Leader, and the Minority Caucus Chair.

He received many honors during his lifetime, notably the 2002 Access Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, the 1997 National Legislator of the Year from the National Industries of the Blind, and the 1999 University of Missouri School of Law Alumnus of the Year.

The Missouri Deputy Sheriffs' Association named an award for him, the Harold Caskey Freedom Award.

"Throughout his life, Harold Caskey was a true champion for the people of west-central Missouri and for working men and women all across our state," said Gov. Jay Nixon in a statement released by the governor's office.

"As a state senator, Harold's leadership and depth of legislative knowledge had a real and positive impact on the lives of his constituents and helped guide many of his colleagues, including me during my six years in the Senate.

"Demonstrating that he would not let the loss of his sight keep him from continuing to serve the state that he loved so much, even during his later years, Harold continued to be a strong advocate for Missourians who are blind or visually impaired. Harold's intelligence, sense of humor and dedication to public service inspired us all.

"My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the First Lady, are with (wife) Kay and all the members of their family."

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