Emeritus professor of history Fred Augustus Cazel Jr. died at home on July 26, after a three-month bout with lymphoma. He was 90.
Cazel was born Feb. 25, 1921, to Fred A. Cazel Sr. and Agnes Petrie Cazel. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother, two nephews, and his wife of many years, Annarie Peters Cazel.
Always a stellar student, Cazel graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in history. He was then accepted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to study for a doctorate under the medievalist Sidney Painter. He concentrated in medieval history, especially English constitutional law. His college years were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
While at Johns Hopkins, Cazel met Annarie Peters from Cincinnati, a doctoral candidate in classical and archaeological studies. After the completion of their degrees and marriage in 1948, he joined the history department at the University of Connecticut, a position he held until 1988.
While at the University, Cazel advanced rapidly to the rank of professor. He also served in many other capacities, including chairman of the Senate Executive Committee, moderator of the Senate, and grand marshall of the annual commencement exercises, a position he held with great pride.
After his retirement from the University, Cazel led biennial tours to the British Isles and elsewhere as fundraisers for the Museum of Natural History at the University. He was an ardent traveler, having visited most corners of the world as well as practically all of the United States. However, this busy schedule did not preclude his creation of a beautiful garden at his home in Gurleyville.
He also found time for many community activities. In 1957, the Mansfield Historical Society was organized in his and Annarie’s living room in their recently purchased Royce-Dunham house in Gurleyville, built in 1735. He not only served as the Society’s first president, but also acted in that capacity for two other separate terms, as well as the Society’s program chairman for a period of time. In 1983, he was appointed to serve on the Mansfield Town Council to fill the term held by his wife, Annarie, before her untimely death. In 1991, he was elected mayor of Mansfield, a position he held until 1997.
Cazel is survived by his nieces Sue Peters, Susan Pendleton, and Beth Pile (Jim), by his nephew Pete Cazel, and by a cousin Judy Stewart (Jack). He was a wonderful uncle and friend to nine grandnieces and nephews and 13 great-great nieces and nephews. His Home-Instead caregivers became his family as well, and he grew close to several of his caregivers. The family is extremely grateful to all who showered him with loving care in recent months. VNA Hospice provided much-needed medical support.
His friends were many and he valued each one. Even at age 90, the circle was wide.
A private memorial will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the Mansfield Historical Society, P.O. Box 145, Storrs, CT 06268 or to the Garden Gate Club, c/o Kay Holt, P.O. Box 163, Mansfield Center, CT 06250. Potter Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. For an online memorial guestbook, please visit the Potter Funeral Home website.