Daniel Willis Casey
Amherst, Nova Scotia and Dieppe, New Brunswick
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Dan Casey died with his loving and devoted wife, Nicole Boudreau, by his side, taking care of him till the end — as she always did. He died as he had lived: Squeezing every last drop of connection and love out of us all. He hated to go and would’ve stayed forever if he could.
In addition to Nicole, Dan is survived by his children Erin Casey (Henk van Leeuwen), Matt Casey (Tracie MacKinnon), Mark Casey (Priscilla Shelley), Daniel Boudreau (Émilie Desjardins), and Michel Boudreau. He was Grampa to Marius and Bea, Zac, Exton and Elara, and most recently baby Lucie. His little brother Bill Casey (Rosemary) was his best friend. He was loved by his many cousins, nieces, nephews, and too many friends to list. Maggie Dog might just miss Grampa most of all.
Dan was predeceased by his parents DA Casey and Audrey Moss, his older brother Brian Casey, and his father’s second wife Michaela Casey.
As a father to Erin, Matt, and Mark, Dan was gentle and tolerant, but ready with advice and small kicks in the backside as required. And when Daniel and Michel joined the family, he was every bit as devoted and generous to them. Despite being the self-proclaimed Minister in Charge of Being Pushed Over, he was especially kind and loving when the kids were most vulnerable and in need. You never doubted that he loved you and believed in you, even when you didn’t believe in yourself. He loved his grandchildren to distraction, thrilling to each new little person and counting his lucky stars he was still around to meet them.
Dan was funny, even though his jokes were usually terrible and frequently inappropriate. He was a great dancer, loved a good party and could practically make friends in his sleep, almost always keeping them for a lifetime. He committed more anonymous acts of kindness than we will likely ever discover. And if you knew Dan at all, you were familiar with (if not occasionally worn out by) his many enthusiasms, including boats, cars, puffins, genealogy, icebergs (he once stood on one, the fool), photography, and whales. His zest for American politics knew no bounds, and he was an accomplished artist, carving and painting beautiful works of art for all his children and grandchildren.
A born schemer, Dan never did retire. He lived to make deals, his business acumen was known far and wide, and he enjoyed many long and healthy business relationships and partnerships. Like his father and brothers, Dan was a real car guy. After graduating from UNB in 1964, he worked for his father at Casey Enterprises in Amherst, then ran his father’s Mercury dealership in New Glasgow, partnered with big brother Brian to sell Mazdas, and went on to deal in Nissans, Fords, Toyotas, and more. Forty-five years ago, he took over the day-to-day machinations at Casey Realty, with little brother Bill quietly partnering. He never left. The two of them took a few commercial "side trips" along the way — some of them more successful than others — including the Capitol Sales furniture store, Casey Manufacturing mobile home factory, and Elm Tree Tavern. Moss Jewellers was in the family for over 100 years, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single home in Amherst without a Moss clock, watch, or engagement ring in it.
A larger-than-life figure in Amherst, Dan was a born leader who dispensed wise counsel to colleagues, competitors, and renters. And he didn’t discriminate: From government facilities to doctors’ offices to dodgy pizza parlours to pawn shops, he treated all his clients with respect and good humour. Deals were often sealed with a handshake and nothing more. In his heyday, Downtown Dan attended every town council meeting and was active in the Amherst and Area Industrial Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development, and Mainstreet Program, and chaired several committees to build the YMCA. He was determined to save downtown Amherst from the big box stores of a certain cross-border neighbour, even creating the beloved and adorable Mr. People mascot.
In his personal life, Dan couldn’t have been more true blue. He and Nicole loved and took care of each other for almost three decades. They built a beautiful home together in Dieppe, where Dan could let his fastidiousness about boats, yards, and houses flourish unchecked. He was known for the perfection of his lawn, the spotlessness of his garage, and the gleam of his fibreglass hull. He planned his and Nicole’s home right down to the last electrical outlet, famously ordering for his poolside deck exotic nails that ended up costing more in duty than the nails themselves.
Dan and Nicole loved to travel, visiting Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, Egypt, China, the British Virgin Islands, and Tahiti. Dan’s iceberg-hunting trips to Newfoundland with the boys were legendary, and he relished his visits with Russ Greene in Boston, especially when the US primaries were involved. The Shore, especially Tidnish, was his happy place since boyhood.
Dan was tough, using up his whole nine lives and then some. Through cancer, heart disease, and multiple complicated illnesses he kept us on our toes, prevailing over and over. He attributed his incredible ability to bounce back to Oreos, Ritz crackers, Cheez Whiz, and cigarettes (just a few!). We thought he’d never die.
Finally, Dan loved nice clothes and liked to look sharp. You might say he was predeceased by the double-breasted suit with brass buttons, which he continued stubbornly to wear long after its best-before date. And after all, it turned out to be a classic, just like he was.
If you’re wondering where Dan is now, remember that he was most himself on a boat. Picture him banging around on Shediac Bay, Baie Verte, or Bar Harbour. He has one hand on the wheel and the other is holding a lobster roll. He’s listening to Paul Simon’s Kodachrome — loud — and there’s a rum and Coke in the cupholder. The cooler is packed, the cushions are warm, and it’s a beautiful day for a boat ride.
Nicole and the family would like to thank the medical professionals at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre for giving their VIP guest such excellent care over the past 20 years. Special thanks also go to Andrea Rushton for holding the fort at Casey Realty with caring calm — you truly are Dan’s right-hand woman.
The best way to honour Dan would be to commit an act of kindness for someone who needs it. We also encourage you to make a donation to the YMCA of Cumberland, your local food bank, or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Jones Family Funeral Centre, 70 Church Street, Amherst, NS (902-667-8777). Public visitation will be held once the Atlantic Bubble has been opened, followed by an Invitation Only Funeral Service due to COVID-19 Restrictions.
Sharing of memories and condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Dan's online memorial at www.jonesfamilyfuneralcentre.ca or through the Jones Family Funeral Centre Facebook Page.