Longtime Patagonia resident Ann Caston passed away on January 4. Ann lived a full 94 years before declining health and dementia took her from us.
She was born Charlann Ramsey on Nov. 20, 1926 in Cushing, Oklahoma. The daughter of a refinery worker, Char grew up in Ponca City, OK and attended Oklahoma University and Antioch College. Early on, she developed a wanderlust. Char moved to New York where she met Fred Caston. They married and had two sons, Christopher and Daniel. The couple formed Caston Associates, a successful building and development company. Char and Fred shared a love of art and studied with Chinese brushwork master Ho Tit Wah.
They also loved to travel. In the early 1960s, the Castons purchased a home and lived part time in Torremolinos in southern Spain. After divorcing, Char owned a houseboat which she motored to the Bahamas. Eventually, Char landed in Hawaii. People in the aloha state knew her by the second half of her given name, Ann. Many would see her in Honolulu behind the wheel of a taxi or managing one of the various art galleries she worked in.
After surviving Hurricane Iniki on Kauai, Ann made the move back to the mainland in the early 1990s and settled in her beloved Patagonia. Ann loved butterflies because she thought of herself as one. She not only took the Spanish name for butterfly and named both of her boats “The Mariposa,” but named her Patagonia store Mariposa Books and more. Tucked inside of the store was the Patagonia Visitors Center.
Ann loved getting the lowdown on where people traveled from. She enjoyed sharing information with the birders and visitors who floated through town on the hunt for hummingbirds and other feathered creatures.
Ann thought of herself as the unofficial mayor of Patagonia. In 2002, she started the Santa Cruz Singers, helped with the Benderly-Kendall Opera House and was thrilled to be made Grand Marshal of the 4th of July parade. Ann would have loved for all of us to celebrate her long and exciting life with a huge party and memorial. Due to current conditions however, it’s not possible. Instead, think of Ann when a butterfly comes into view. We know she’s keeping an eye on the place that made her the happiest.