Sean Castle, a music teacher at San Rafael High School, died suddenly Monday of an apparent heart attack, his family said. He was 43 years old.
“Sean has spent his entire 20-year teaching career at San Rafael High School, where he has shared the joys of music with thousands of students, staff and families,” wrote Glenn Dennis, principal of school, in a letter to students, parents and staff.
“His impact on the community extends far beyond the award-winning music program he helped create,” said Dennis. “Sean inspired his students with his dedication, attention and charisma. “
Mr Castle, who lived in Sausalito with his fiancee Nicole Dube, had no history of heart problems or other medical problems, his father Kent Castle said on Tuesday.
However, Mr Castle had been feeling bad since last Thursday, he said. Doctors recommended that he take a COVID-19 test, which came back negative.
On Monday morning, he was not feeling well again, his father said. His fiancee called 911, but Mr. Castle died before the paramedics arrived.
“It was totally unexpected,” his father said. “It’s a big blow.”
Anne Lerner, another music teacher at San Rafael High School, said Mr. Castle “has never had a hard time telling about anyone” and that he was completely dedicated to the school and its students, said she declared.
“He was a really good person,” she said. “I really liked him. He was like a little brother to me.
Mr Castle’s father said music and San Rafael High School were his son’s twin passions. After attending high school, Mr. Castle went to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied music.
During his freshman year he announced that he wanted to be a music teacher at San Rafael High School, his father said. His son’s former mentor at school, Mark Peabody – now an administrator at the Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School – hired him upon his graduation from UCLA.
“Music was his oxygen,” Kent Castle said.
According to Dennis, Mr. Castle helped create and then lead the school’s jazz orchestra and wind ensemble that performed at reunions and other events. He also organized the school’s jazz choir and a percussion class called Steel Pans.
Lerner said the distance education period during the pandemic was particularly difficult for music teachers. Mr Castle, in particular, was frustrated that he couldn’t see his students in person, she said.
“He felt so responsible for the music department,” Lerner said. “He took his mission very seriously.
The school offers counseling services. He will also schedule a tribute to Mr Castle, likely in August, when dozens of his former students can attend, Dennis said.
“Since we are in the middle of summer, it is heartbreaking to share this news via email instead of coming together to deal with it as a school community,” said Dennis.
The Coroner’s Division of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Mr. Castle’s death. Deputy Chief Roger Fielding said an initial forensic examination was carried out on Tuesday and toxicology test results were pending.
Although the case is still active, the investigation did not find anything suspicious, Fielding said.
Kent Castle, a resident of Terra Linda, said services would be scheduled in Marin soon.
Besides his father and fiancee, Mr. Castle is survived by his mother Kris Castle and his brother Darren, a resident of San Rafael.