FLORENCE, AZ, USA U.S. Army SSG, 259TH ENGINEER COMPANY, PHOENIX, AZ TIKRIT, IRAQ 03/04/2007
An Arizona Army National Guardsman from Florence was killed in Iraq when a bomb exploded near his vehicle, authorities said. Staff Sgt. Darrel Kasson, 43, died March 4, according to the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. His death was announced March 7.
Kasson worked as a corrections officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections for 18 years. His wife, Lori, said she spoke with her husband by phone for about 20 minutes March 2, and he had expressed worry about his mission. “He just felt funny about this one,” she said, and the couple prayed together over the phone.
His wife, Lori, met Kasson when she was 13 and he was 14. They dated all through high school. Shortly after Lori graduated, they got married.
“I was only 18 but no one in my family was worried” she said. By then he was like another one of my mom’s kids. We all just got along so well.
The Tucson native was deployed with the Arizona Army National Guard’s 259th Engineer Company, based in Phoenix. He was a member of the Alpha Battery, 2-180th Field Artillery Battalion. The unit was mobilized in August and sent to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for pre-deployment training. Kasson was then sent to Iraq in November. He worked at the DOC up until he was called to duty.
Corrections officers had spent the past two weeks putting together care packages filled with hygiene items, food and candy that Kasson had requested.
“He’s the kind of guy you could call up and tell him to do something and it would get done,” said John Hernandez, a corrections officer who was Kasson’s supervisor for two years.
Darrel D. Kasson learned the carpenter’s trade from his father and grandfather, and he could do all manner of handiwork. He could do auto mechanics, carpentry, just about anything, said Pastor Dale Storm, who was delighted to have Kasson do repairs on Florence Baptist Church. He enjoyed helping other people, Storm said. And he enjoyed working with kids.
His wife also said Kasson enjoyed helping others in the community and at Florence Baptist Church with repair and remodeling work.
Funeral arrangements are pending. A public memorial service at Florence High School gymnasium is planned for March 12 where the corrections department will retire Kasson’s badge.
Kasson is also survived by his wife Lori Kasson of Florence; mother Sharon Jones of New Mexico; children Lisa Varnes of MI, Jeremy and Dale Kasson, both of Florence; grandchildren McKenzie and Dakota Varnes; brother Darren Kasson of WA; sister Kimberly Kasson of CA and grandfather Leo Kasson of Tucson.