COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There was nothing Susan Castore loved more, her friends say, than being kind to everyone – without exception.
“She was on a mission. She spread compassion, kindness, and hope across Ohio, and she was very organized and determined, “said Becky Allen, who knew Castore as the A-OK lady Live simply, a group dedicated to “building a compassionate and sustainable world” in central Ohio.
Susan Castore as the A-OK lady on Twitter.
Around 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in October 2020, someone at the home of Susan Castore, 75, and her longtime partner, John Blanc, 77, called to hang up 911. Franklin County MPs rushed to the house on Carilla Lane and found Blanc stabbed to death. Castore appeared to have been strangled.
VOKAS: Columbus woman accused of murdering two people in a possible failed robbery
Kelly Vokas, currently on trial for the murder of the coupleHe was seen through a window, according to police. The prosecution accuses Vokas of attempting to rob Castore and Blanc. The Franklin County attorney charged Vokas of murder, aggravated homicide, robbery, break-in and manipulation of evidence.
Envelope ‘ next court date will be at 345 South High Street 5th floor on August 11th at 9am.
Vokas knew Castore and Blanc as the couple’s neighbors, according to a Franklin County District Attorney’s media release on the October 2020 murders.
The way Susan and John died is difficult for their friends to reconcile with the life they aspired to be. Blanc helped in soup kitchens; Susan traveled Ohio as that A-OK lady to spread a friendly message.
Emily Noble “Selfless, Caring”: No Definitive Autopsy Report One Year After Disappearance
“Susan had many layers of complexity,” said Marilyn Welker, founder and former president of Simply Living, “and all she wanted was to meet people at the heart level. But there were difficult times for her and she would fall silent. “
These troubled times were times of insanity; The childhood was hard for Castore, says Welker. “She had a very difficult childhood. She has been abused in a variety of ways. And she had mental illness as a result.
“Her mental illness made her very empathetic. She had full compassion for everyone. And she always chose the main street. She has always chosen to make the best of each person and their situation, ”said Welker.
Blanc also had to struggle with childlike hardships, says Welker: “John had a very similar childhood in extreme poverty. He was a marine in the Vietnam War. John was a vulnerable person and he gave to the community. He worked as a grocery volunteer in a soup kitchen for years and did what he loved, which was to cook food.
“So the two of them hit it off and had such grace and kindness when they realized they were broken, you know, and it was fine.”
That acceptance was deeply part of Castore. “She just knew what we think and feel was important, and that’s how she worked every morning.
“She read inspiration, read the Bible, meditated, and prayed. She never proselytized religion, always friendliness. It was her willingness to let go of so much of what was painful and never let it define her, but she knew who she was and never pretended how broken she was. In the end it didn’t matter, ”said Welker.
VIDEO: Momma Deer comes running to check on newborn babies crying in New Lexington
Allen remembers Castore from Whole Foods in the role of the A-OK Lady (who called herself “Susann” from 2000, her friends remembered), who distributed friendly messages.
“She started doing this when she was in her 60s,” said Allen. “She knew that kindness, kind actions, and gestures make a difference in someone else’s life. She would begin her rather tragic life and that would open up the people she spoke to and allow them to reveal the depths of their experiences. “
Allen doesn’t think Castore thought about the risks of opening up to strangers. “I don’t think she thought about taking risks. She was driven to get the word out. She dreamed of waves of compassion spreading over the state of Ohio and that Ohio would be an example for other states. It’s inspiring for me. “
Autopsy Report: Emily Noble died of “multiple injuries” to her head and neck
But how can a friend reconcile a person whose life was so generous and compassionate with the brutal death she and the man she loved experienced? The answers for Welker are thorny and complex, coupled with Castor’s awareness of her own deteriorating mental health.
“Susan’s way of being in the world was to live to the fullest every day,” Welker said slowly, preoccupying himself with the question. “I have a feeling … luckily her end was quick … She knew her brain wasn’t working well and it worried her deeply. Your questions about: ‘What will happen to me when I get older?’ It’s a grace that she didn’t have to live to answer these questions. “
The plaque for Susan Castore. John Blanc has a similar badge. Worn by Becky Allen (left) and Marilyn Welker (right).
A memorial service for John and Susan will be held on Saturday, July 17 at the Stratford Ecological Center, 3083 Liberty Road, Delaware. John Blanc will be honored at noon, Susan Castore at 1 p.m. Two butternut-walnut tree seedlings have already been planted along a path at SEC. The service includes placing a plaque at the base of each tree and informally sharing memories and stories about them.
“I would just say that her relationship with John Blanc made her possible in a way that represents true love,” Welker reflected. “John wasn’t part of their A-OK job and that was fine with both of them. But there was an unconditional love that she hadn’t really had. That gave her strength and power that she would have surpassed herself. “