BMWE Mourns Death of Retired Grand Lodge Officer
James P. Cassese, Sr., former Chairman of the Grand Lodge Executive Board and General Chairman of the Consolidated Rail System Federation, passed away Sunday, March 4, 2001, from complications following surgery. Brother Cassese retired on August 31, 1994, after 40 years of BMWE service.
Brother Cassese went to work for the Erie Railroad in 1946 as a plumber's helper after service in the Navy during World War II. He joined the BMWE in 1947 and became Local Lodge 1855 Local Chairman in 1954, a position he held intermittently for 20 years.
In 1957, Brother Cassese was appointed to a four-year term on the Erie-Susquehanna System Federation Joint Protective Board, the predecessor to the Erie Lackawanna Federation. From 1961 to 1968 and from 1974-1975, he served as the Erie Lackawanna's Vice Chairman- Secretary-Treasurer.
In 1968, former President Crotty appointed Brother Cassese New Jersey State Legislative Representative and in 1970 and 1974, he was elected to that position. In 1973, President Crotty appointed him as Assistant National Legislative Representative.
Brother Cassese has the distinction of serving as the General Chairman of two federations, the Erie Lackawanna and the CRSF. In 1975 he succeeded Leonard Serino as General Chairman on the Erie Lackawanna and when that system merged with CRSF in 1976, Brother Cassese became Second Vice General Chairman. In 1980, he was elected First Vice General Chairman and in July 1983, he succeeded Sal Freccia as General Chairman of the CRSF. In 1984, he was elected to that position which he held until his retirement.
Brother Cassese was elected to the Grand Lodge Executive Board at the 1990 Convention and served as its Chairman until his retirement.
Born in Cliffside Park, New Jersey on January 22, 1924, Brother Cassese and his first wife, the former Connie Ballato, had four children, Sandra, James, Jr., Charles Mark and Michele. Connie Cassese passed away a number of years ago. Following his retirement, Brother Cassese and his second wife and surviving widow, Linda, moved to Nevada.
During his retirement, Brother Cassese, a devout Roman Catholic, was active
in his parishes in Nevada and St. Mary's of the Lake in Lakewood, New Jersey and
made several pilgrimages throughout the world to visit shrines dedicated to the