A Tribute to Charles I. Cassell (1924 – 2021)

Charles Cassell
Charles Cassell

All of us with the National Mall Coalition are deeply saddened to learn that Charles Cassell, a founding member of the Coalition, passed away May 17th.  Charles was a thoughtful, creative, dedicated, principled, energetic soul, and a staunch historic preservationist.  He was a guiding light when the Coalition formed in 2000, then known as the National Coalition to Save Our Mall.

A native Washingtonian, Charles was a font of knowledge about the history of Washington and the crucial role the National Mall played in that history. He proved a champion in our opposition to the World War II Memorial, speaking up – as a veteran of that war – not against the idea of a WWII memorial per se, but against the location that required destruction of the Rainbow Pool, an historic component of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Charles was a kind and charming architect-turned-activist, with a long history through the years of participating in civil rights actions. And he was a talented jazz pianist.

He was living at Knollwood retirement community for some years after knee surgery had left him incapable of getting around. Though retired for some time, his indomitable spirit was and continues to be with us as we carry on the Coalition’s important work.  There are many challenges ahead, not least the almost nonstop proposals for new museums and memorials on the Mall.

Our condolences to Charles’ wife Linda and their family and friends.  We will miss him.  May he rest in peace.

Also, read Charles’ obituary in the The Washington Post.

Charles at the Coalition's 2005 Annual Meeting, second from the left
Charles at the Coalition’s 2005 Annual Meeting, second from the left





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