On Monday, June 20, 2022, dear friend and mission builder Frank Castles Jr. passed away unexpectedly in Lakeside, MT. He was doing what he loved to do: giving his time and skills to kingdom work.
“Frank and his wife, Relda, wandered into the MBI office and our hearts over 20 years ago. Their hunger to pursue the things of God as they neared retirement opened opportunities for service that took them around the world and down the street in whichever neighborhood they lived. With Southern hospitality and the warmest “Howdy, y’all!” Frank endeared himself to others in his workplace as a professional engineer and to us as a member of MBI’s board of directors.
“Relentless, whether he offered his help or insisted on having fun together, Frank modeled Jesus with a Southern drawl. Those who knew him came to know his family and learned that Frank lived life large as “Big Daddy” to his children and their children.
“God gives us ‘suddenlies’ in our lives that can surprise and change our course of direction in an instant. Frank’s sudden passing reminds me more than ever to take the time to say “I love y’all” each day to those around me because we don’t know the day or the hour of our last breath—or theirs.
“Frank gave of his time and talents to bless others, even to his very last moment on earth. He “just showed up” to help us 20-plus years ago, and he was gone an instant later (gratefully, it was a long, 20-year instant). Frank loved Jesus, and it’s obvious Jesus loved him—suddenly.
“I will miss Frank’s deep, resonant voice reciting the Shabbat prayer with his Southern accent: ‘Blessed are You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe. You hallow us with your commandments and command us to kindle the lights of Shabbat. Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.’
“I pray you are blessed with a friend like Frank Castles in your circle of influence—with or without the Southern touch. Shalom, y’all.” —John Briggs
“Frank was one of the most gentle, fun-loving, hard-working, friendly guys I have known. He graciously gave his time, talent, and treasure to MBI. Through his hard work and diligence, Frank pushed our Mission Lodge project to a place where we can now go on to the next stage. He will be missed greatly, not just because of his talents and contributions, but because of who he was.” —Ron Brewster, MBI co-director
“Frank spent the last month of his life investing in what God is doing through MBI. With a lifetime of experience as a civil engineer and hands-on knowledge of the MBI utility system, he applied his skills and talents to the civil construction work for the new MBI Mission Lodge project. He was able to mobilize and direct teams to begin clearing the site, moving dirt, and installing sewer lines. On any given day, you could find him calling volunteers, ordering materials, placing stakes around the site, and sharing his knowledge with all those around him. His work has laid a foundation that the future of MBI will rest on.” —Ross Lackey, Partner Architects
Excerpted from Frank’s obituary:
“Born December 31, 1946, in Starkville, Mississippi, Frank was an avid Mississippi State fan. He served overseas as a Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War. After returning to the States, Frank enrolled in Mississippi State University, earning a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He owned a civil engineering firm in both Tupelo and Saltillo, MS, before serving as the associate city engineer for Kalispell for several years. After retiring from his Kalispell position, Frank and his beloved wife, Relda, moved back to Mississippi to be closer to family.
“A loving family man, Frank was known affectionately as Big Daddy. He was strong in his Christian faith, passing those values to his family along with his love for the outdoors and fishing. He and Relda enjoyed life to the fullest, making many trips back to Montana and Israel, where they volunteered their skills and shared their faith and spiritual gifts, resulting in countless adventures, wonderful memories, and lifetime friendships.
“Memorials can be made to Mission Builders International at PO Box 406, Lakeside, MT 59922, www.missionbuilders.org/ donate or Fields of Wheat, PO Box 729, Middlefield, OH 44062.”