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Manager's vibrancy, determination led to success

| Friday, March 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Denise H. 'Dee' Casteel, 46, of Adams died unexpectedly Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at UPMC Passavant hospital in McCandless.

In just a few short months, Dee Casteel transformed a stodgy Downtown social club into a vibrant gathering place that welcomed new Downtown residents, the club's board president said.

“She just brought a spark of life to the place, a vibrance and invigoration that I haven't seen in quite some time,” said John Biedrzycki, head of the Allegheny Harvard, Yale and Princeton Club, which opened in 1930. “The minute I met her in person, and read her resume, I knew she was going to have the heart, the spirit, the energy we needed to turn things around.”

Denise H. “Dee” Casteel of Adams died Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in UPMC Passavant in McCandless from a heart attack. She was 46.

Mrs. Casteel was the general manager of the Allegheny HYP club for nearly six months, Biedrzycki said. Previously, she had worked at the Rivers Club, Downtown, and Treesdale Golf and Country Club in Pine.

Mrs. Casteel obtained her Realtor's license in February 2012, said her husband, Bill, and sold four houses within her first year at Howard Hanna Realtors.

“She always knew what she was doing and had the personality to get things done,” Bill Casteel said. “She just had that charisma. She had a great future in front of her in both venues.”

Mrs. Casteel was a member of Treesdale, where she served on the board of governors, and was chair of the Women's Golf Committee.

She learned how to play golf about seven years ago, her husband said, applying the same determination and zeal to the game that she did with everything else in her life.

“She went from a 50 handicap down to 10,” said Bill Casteel, owner of Euphoria Post Production, a television post-production company. “She got a lot of women who were intimidated by golf to play.

“They feared they wouldn't play well enough, but she made it exciting and fun.”

After starting at the 400-member Allegheny HYP club, Mrs. Casteel made changes to increase membership, including starting a monthly networking event called “Party in the Pub.”

In addition to her husband, whom she married April 11, 2008, Mrs. Casteel is survived by her mother, Audrey Miller Carnahan of Gibsonia, and a sister, Ann Espinola of Denver. She was preceded in death by her father, Allen J. Carnahan, and a brother, Paul A. Carnahan.

Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home, 238 Crowe Ave., Mars. Services will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at New Community Church, 3100 Wexford Road, Pine, with the Rev. Hollis Haff officiating.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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