Jonathan Logan Castleberry
1982 – 2020
Jonathan Logan Castleberry, 38, passed away at his home in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday morning, September 26, 2020 due to unknown causes.
There is a quote by Buddha that says, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” We all thought we had more time with Jonathan. No one ever expects to lose a loved one –a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a friend – at such a young age. That’s not how the story of life is supposed to go. We are supposed to grow old together, and as Jonathan said on his
, to live, love, and laugh together in this amazing life. But our life stories don’t always end as expected, and as a family, we believe Jonathan’s story ended much sooner than he had planned.
On a Tuesday in July 1982, under the sign of Cancer, Jonathan was born to John and Cheryl Castleberry in Mesa, Arizona. The fifth of five children, his brother and three sisters, ages six to fifteen, welcomed their new baby brother home with wonder and excitement. Though named Jonathan Logan, he went by Logan at first, until he didn’t. Logan didn’t fit him. He was a Jonathan through and through. By the time he was six, three of his siblings had moved away from home, leaving him to spend most of his time with his big sister. Jonathan and his sister spent another five years growing up together, until she moved out when he was eleven. Then, shortly after Jonathan’s 13
birthday his parents separated and eventually divorced.
Jonathan spent his teenage years mostly with his mom, and sometimes with his dad and stepmom, older brother, or friends. Many of his experiences and feelings during this time were written in a notebook and
as songs with the band
from 1995 to 2001. Later, he would perform with the band
Gift, “the band of many names . . . lasted a good three years with many players and great fun success,”
Code Red Tragedy,
and most recently with
. Jonathan loved singing, writing lyrics, and creating music that shared what he saw, felt, and experienced in life. With his amazing, deep voice, he could command the room — he owned the stage when he performed. He loved the crowd and the crowd loved him.
In his adult years, Jonathan connected with thousands of people and made new friends through his music, his online social presence, as well as his extensive work in the hospitality industry. His energy, big heart, and outward positivity drew people to him. Though much of his life was spent in the greater Phoenix area, he traded Arizona summers for Utah winters during the latter half of his twenties. For several years Jonathan spent time in the Salt Lake City and Ogden valley building relationships with family, and further developing his experience in the restaurant, bar, and club scene. After turning 30, he returned to Arizona where he spent the last eight years of his life. He was ambitious and always looking to learn more in each new position he took on, from server, bartender and general manager to graphic designer, marketer, and promoter. His goal was always to create a welcoming, fun, and energetic atmosphere wherever he was. He accepted people from all walks of life, whether they worshipped in pews, pubs, or not at all. And many of the people Jonathan met while working became like a second family or lifelong friend to him.
Someone recently asked Jonathan what he enjoyed doing. In his own words he said, “So much, I love music, concerts, good food, good drinks, great friends, snowboarding! I am a slight computer nerd, but you wouldn’t know. I love movies and TV series and books as well. I could tell stories all day because life has been fun and crazy.” Jonathan loved the Marvel comic characters, Baby Yoda, beautiful images he found on the internet, and the ocean. He had visited a friend in California, and she said, “His happy place was the beach. I’ve never seen him so at peace than when he dipped his feet into the water.” And though Jonathan loved karaoke, he wanted to start singing and recording again. He had written on his Facebook page, “My goal is to succeed. My life has been full of gains and losses, but I’m blessed in some ways. I hope to sing again someday.” His plans just before he died were to move into a new place with roommates and start working on a solo record.
Some would say Jonathan had his own set of rules, living each day in the moment. He could be the highlight or worst part of your day. Like a bowl of ice cream to the lactose intolerant, even if you knew it could be a shitshow later, you would indulge for the moment of enjoyment that came from being in his presence. To know him was to love him. Jonathan was enthusiastic, outgoing, talented, fun, difficult, inspiring, troubled, entitled, emotional, loving, and always up for a challenge. He was a hard worker, smart, charmed, a people person, strong willed, vibrant, charismatic, hopeful, and curious. Jonathan was loyal when he chose to be, a gleeful troublemaker, a little vain, a stern negotiator, always looking for something better, an accomplished bargain hunter, impulsive, resourceful, and clever. He could justify just about anything that he did, and when he ran into challenges, he could always land back on his feet. He started over more times than we can count. And, as hard as life sometimes was, it was never in his nature to give up. Jonathan was a fighter.
Some life stories are like a passing wisp of the wind. They come and go almost unnoticed. While other stories are quite profound. They make you think. They touch you deeply and influence the rest of your life. Jonathan’s life story will forever be in the lyrics he wrote and sang, the conversations and moments that we shared, the messages he sent, and the posts we “liked.” His story will rest in our hearts and memories, to be drawn upon, laughed at, and remembered throughout this lifetime. And, for those that truly knew and loved Jonathan, he will never be forgotten.
Jonathan’s life was celebrated by friends and family with a night of Karaoke at Maya New York Pizza Bar & Grill in Mesa, AZ on October 1, 2020.
A small, private service was also held on October 19, 2020 at Bueler Mortuary in Chandler, AZ.