Gail M. Kastorf, 74, passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2023 following a heart attack. She was with her husband and friends in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA for a concert.
Gail was a lifelong fan of birdwatching, gardening, Native American art, and mystery stories. She was proud of her Jewish heritage and spent the last few years focused on researching her genealogy. Our ancestors, she believed, live on in our memories, and it’s important to speak their names.
Gail was born in 1948 in Brooklyn, New York to Irving and Selma Meisel, and attended SUNY Buffalo where she studied anthropology. She moved to Boston to attend graduate school in counseling at Northeastern University, where she met her husband Karl. They married in 1974 and started a family in Pembroke, MA, where Gail served on the school committee. The family moved to Sacramento, CA for about two years, then returned to Massachusetts and lived in Lexington.
In 2004, Gail and Karl purchased Post Road Framers in Rowley, MA. Gail created a small gallery named for her father in the shop and enjoyed networking with artists and sharing their work with the community. Gail and Karl moved to Ipswich, MA, to be closer to the store, where Gail served on the board of their condo association.
In both her personal life and her career in human services, Gail was a fierce advocate for people with special needs and their families. She worked for decades serving people with developmental disabilities, and retired in 2021 after about fifteen years at the Asperger/Autism Network. Colleagues remember her for deep acceptance and understanding of folks with differences, especially those on the autism spectrum, and her dedication to the individual. They recall how Gail continued to support adults she served long after she had officially moved on to other professional roles. She was flexible and willing to break the rules and fight for services in order to get the needed support.
She is survived by her her beloved husband of nearly 50 years Karl Kastorf of Ipswich, MA, her mother Selma Meisel of Lauderhill, FL, sister Rhonda Meisel of Canton, MA, son Joshua Kastorf and his husband Dan Croft of Waltham, MA, son Kurt Kastorf and his wife Anjali Kastorf of Atlanta, GA, grandchildren Soren and Kian Kastorf, niece Erika Lawson and nephews Paul and Ray Cooper. She is pre-deceased by her father Irving Meisel and nephew Gus Lawson.
A service will take place at 11:00 AM on Thursday, February 23 at Morris Funeral Home at 45 North Main Street, Ipswich, MA 01938, followed by a reception at her home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any gifts in Gail’s honor be made to the Aspergers / Autism Network, aane.org. To send a letter of condolence to the Kastorf family please go to: MorrisFH.com .
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