Fairfax Spokesman, Navy Capt. Edmund L. Castillo, 80

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Edmund L. Castillo, 80, a retired Navy captain who was one of the Navy's original public information officers and who was spokesman for Fairfax County for 13 years, died Aug. 24 of congestive heart failure at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He was a longtime resident of Washington before moving to Hamilton in 1993.

After retiring from the Navy in 1968, Capt. Castillo became Fairfax's director of public affairs. His authoritative voice became a fixture on radio and television in the Washington area, The Washington Post once wrote.

In 1982, he was appointed executive assistant to the county executive. He worked on special projects and helped implement the county's affirmative-action plan. He also developed a performance evaluation system and trained managers and supervisors in its use.

Capt. Castillo was born in Toledo and raised in Chicago, where his father was a professor of Spanish literature at the University of Chicago. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1945 and was commissioned an officer in the Naval Reserve, serving with the Pacific Fleet Amphibious Force during the last months of World War II.

He was commissioned in the Navy in 1949 as a specialist in public affairs and was among the Navy's first 40 public information officers.

His early assignments included serving as deputy commandant of the Defense Information School and public affairs officer of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. He was head of the press division in the Office of Information for the Navy Department during the sinking of the submarine USS Thresher in 1963 and, as officer-in-charge of the Navy Journalist School, he drafted the first public affairs officer training curriculum.

In his last assignment, he was chief of the press division in the office of the assistant secretary of defense. He served as the Defense Department spokesman when the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli aircraft during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and served as liaison with the media during the Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon, also in 1967.

Capt. Castillo earned a master's degree in communications from Boston University in 1954. He also earned a doctorate in public administration from George Washington University in 1978 and taught occasional graduate-level courses in public administration at GWU and George Mason University. He retired from Fairfax County in 1990.

Capt. Castillo was the author of children's books, including "All About the U.S. Navy" (1961); "The Seabees of World War II" (1963); "Midway: Battle for the Pacific" (1968); and "Flat-Tops: The Story of Aircraft Careers" (1969).

For 19 years, he was a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill, and he was a former chairman of the parish council. More recently, he was an active member and lay Eucharistic minister of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville.

He was a past president of the U.S. Navy Public Affairs Alumni Association and a member of the Washington National Press Club and the U.S. Naval Institute. A longtime practitioner of the ancient art of bonsai, he was also a member of the Potomac Bonsai Association.

His wife, Jane Taylor Castillo, whom he married in 1947, died in 1989.

In 1992, he married Glenna de Quoy, and they later separated.

Survivors include three children from his first marriage, Edmund Christopher Castillo of Santa Clara, Calif., James Carlos Castillo of Arlington and Margaret Castillo Rodenberg of Reston; and five grandchildren.

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