Edward Robert “Bud” Kast Jr. went from the playing fields of Pearl River to the hallowed Ivy-covered walls of Dartmouth to a distinguished career in education as a headmaster at independent schools in three different states.
Bud attained All-County recognition in football, baseball and basketball. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame on the high school level was his starring role as a halfback on the 1937 Pearl River football team, which won the Rockland County championship, went undefeated against county opponents and did not yield a point to Rockland schools the entire season.
The ‘37 Pirates, coached by Ira Shuttleworth, were known as the “Wonder Team” for their unexpected dominance on the gridiron, led by Kast. The Pirates blanked all four Rockland rivals and shut out three New Jersey opponents to boot. The only points they allowed that magical season came in a narrow 6-0 loss to Westwood, N.J. Twelve Pearl River players were named to the first or second team All-County squad. Accompanying Bud in the backfield were John “Gintz” Koleduk, Frank Clay Fisher, fellow Rockland Hall of Famer Alex Zilko, and Chick Sickles. The team captains were center Bill Staats, tackle Donald “Streaky” Stevenson and Fisher, and the line was anchored by Walt Cosey, a unanimous All- County choice.
Bud was an outfielder and first baseman who made the All-County baseball team his senior year. He also made honorable mention All-County in basketball as a forward. Bud finished his scholastic career with a flourish, earning the Knights of Columbus Award as the outstanding athlete from the class of 1938. He was inducted into the Pearl River Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and the 1937 football team was enshrined in 2006.
After a one-year stint at Staunton (Va.) Military Academy, where he lettered in all three sports, Bud enrolled at Dartmouth College. He was a three-year starter at right halfback for legendary coach Earl “Red” Blaik, led the team in rushing each year and captained the team his senior year. His college exploits were regularly chronicled in the local media – “Bud Kast Shines in Dartmouth’s Victory” read one headline in the Orangetown Free-Press, written by fellow Hall of Famer Art Hopper. “Kast Plays Big Role” read another account in a 7-0 victory over Yale.
In the fall of 1942, after his senior football season, Bud was drafted into the Army during World War II. Like many Ivy Leaguers who were drafted into service, he was assigned to intelligence operations. At the conclusion of infantry training
he was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to today’s CIA, in Washington, D.C.
After learning the science of codes and ciphers, he was sent to Signal Corps Officer Candidate School, then back to Washington and off to China.
He was discharged as a first lieutenant in January 1946 and returned to Dartmouth in March to complete studies for his B.A. degree in English. He received his master’s degree in education from New York University.
Bud’s first job out of college in September 1946 was as an English teacher at Short Hills (N.J.) Country Day School, for students from preschool through eighth grade. He served as assistant headmaster for three years and as headmaster for the duration on his tenure there, which lasted until 1964. He then became headmaster at the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio, and in 1970 moved on to Germantown Academy in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he remained as headmaster until his retirement in 1986. Both schools serve students from preschool to 12th grade.
Besides his interest in athletics, Bud was a fervent supporter of the arts and played a key role in the development of arts centers at both the Hawken School and Germantown Academy. He served on numerous school boards and his professional affiliations included stints as chair of the National Association of Independent Schools and president of the Headmasters Association of the United States. At his retirement in 1986 he moved to Vermont to live in the house he and his wife, Angela, had built in 1972 in the state’s northeastern woodlands. He continued his services as an educational consultant on a limited basis and served on the local public school board in Hardwick for 12 years.
Bud had three children, all daughters: Christine Bjorner, 70, of Stockholm, Sweden; Patty Meyer, 66, of East Hardwick, Vt.; and Gigi Kast (Parker), 61, of Velarde, N.M. He also had nine grandchildren: four from Christine (Edward, 41; Katja, 39; Siri, 37; and Elise, 31), four from Patty (Tom, 44; Andrew, 42; Taylor, 38; and Nick, 36); and one from Gigi (Shane Parker, 28); and 13 great grandchildren.
Bud Kast died in 2007 at age 84. He devoted the last 15 years of his life to caring for Angela, who died in 2009 at age 86.