Santino A. 'Sye' Castagna


December 11, 2018

HURLEY, Wis. - Santino A. "Sye" Castagna, 97, of Pence, passed away on Nov. 30, 2018.

Sye was born on Jan. 7, 1921, in Hurley, the son of Anna Lopez and Pasquali "Patsy" Castagna.

Sye was a native of Hurley and lived in Pence. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hurley and one of the oldest members of the American Legion in Hurley.

His life was about God, family and friends. He was a kind, compassionate and caring individual who took pride in living independently on his own until he was in his late 90s and still drove himself to the senior centers for lunch.

Sye Castagna graduated from the Hurley School District in 1939. He attended Gogebic Community College and then received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Ferris Institute in Big Rapids, Mich., in 1943. Sye entered the U.S. Air Corps and served our country from August 1943 to November 1945 and managed an officers club.

On Jan. 7, 1945, he married Pauline (Polly) Orsoni, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Pence by Father Kubiak.

His teaching career started in 1947 when he began working at the Saxon High School as a teacher and as a basketball coach, where he "took four state championships in a row." He was very proud of that story and loved retelling it.

In 1951, he moved into a teaching position with the Hurley school system. He taught civics, English and business classes. In 1957, he received a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and also attended UW-Madison.

In 1965, he also became director of the vocational education department and was in charge of concession stands for football and basketball games. He loved interacting with the kids. In 1981, he was named superintendent of the Hurley School District. He remained in that position until his retirement at age 62 in 1983.

Sye spent 37 years of his life dedicated to the education of Hurley students. Sye was a well-educated and well-liked man who will be long remembered for the way he genuinely inspired students. Throughout his lengthy retirement years, he always appreciated the many students and faculty who recognized him and would strike up a conversation or say hello. He especially enjoyed when he was invited back to his students' class reunions. He enjoyed his meals and friendship at senior centers in Hurley, Bessemer and in Pence, which was an important part of his social life.

Sye is survived by one brother, Jim (Bonnie), of Bemidji, Minn .; sister-in-law, Mary Castagna, of California; his two grandsons, Santino B., of Minneapolis, Minn., and Sammy J., of Lincoln, Neb. Sye was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Polly, and his only son, Paul, passed away in May 2015 and Sye's brother, Charlie.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary of the Seven Dolors Catholic Church, 404 Iron St., in Hurley, on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. with Father Frank Kordek, OFM, officiating. There will be a visitation at the church from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15. There will be a luncheon to follow at the church Parish Hall.

Rite of Committal and inurnment will be in the spring at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery of Hurley.

McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood is assisting the family. For more information and to express condolences, visit In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hurley Education Foundation Fund.


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