Dr. Fransisco Javier Castaneda was born the 16th of October, 1972, in Sacramento, California, the third child of Andres Castaneda and Maria Gonzalez Caballero. He died much too young at the age of 48 on September 15th, 2021, in Caldwell, Idaho. He was preceded in death by his mother and his brother, Andy Castaneda. He is survived by his dear wife, Maria, and his seven children: Miriam (fiancé, Ben Arrington) of Rexburg, Idaho; Rachael (husband, Douglas Webb) of Twin Falls, Idaho; Hyrum (missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Elisabeth, Joseph, Carlos, and Sariah of Caldwell, Idaho. He is also survived by his father and three brothers.
Javier spent his early years in Southern California. His life began humbly and although there was enough love to go around, there was not always enough of everything else. Education has always been one of Javier’s passions. Since the tender age of three, Javier has been enrolled in classes himself and/or teaching and leading others. In grade school he excelled in special programs for gifted and talented students. In middle school a misguided counselor discouraged him from taking the advanced math classes that would prepare him for college. In order to continue to progress and have a better environment to pursue his love of learning, he moved to Yoncalla, Oregon with Jerry and Carol Cross, who took him in as their own son.
After graduating from high school, he spent two years serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colombia, South America. He returned to Yoncalla, and it was there that he met the love of his life, Maria Wieland. They both attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), earned their degrees, and fell in love. They were sealed December 30th, 1995, in the Portland Oregon Temple and moved to Corvallis where he attended Western Oregon University. After earning his Bachelor’s degree, he began a full-time teaching job as a third grade teacher in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and almost immediately enrolled part-time in classes to become an administrator. Upon completion of his Master’s degree in Education from Southern Oregon University, he became a principal at Gaffney Lane Elementary School in Oregon City. He was also principal at Candy Lane and Jennings Lodge Elementary schools while living there in Oregon City. In 2012, the family felt inspired to make a change and moved to Caldwell, Idaho, and Javier began his work with Heritage Community Charter School (HCCS). Under his direction at Heritage, he built a family of learners, teachers, staff and community members. His ability to build relationships and identify the hidden potential in each individual allowed students and adults alike to flourish under his leadership.
Pursuing knowledge was incredibly important to Dr. Castaneda. He graduated in 2019 with a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Northwest Nazarene University. His family along with the staff and students at HCCS proudly celebrated his achievement and progression from Mr. to Dr. Castaneda with great joy.
Dr. Castaneda worked tirelessly to help HCCS accomplish many goals including but not limited to: accreditation of the k-8 school, creating financial stability that allowed the school to purchase the building, an expansion of four classrooms, new curriculum, high quality professional development for teachers, and students who excelled. His most notable accomplishment at HCCS is the way he cared for each individual and made each person know that he cared for them. He will be greatly missed by his HCCS family.
Though he loved the school and helping each student succeed, his family was his greatest passion, his greatest love in life, and of eternal significance to him. He loved spending time with his wife and seven children—geocaching, camping at the beach, target shooting, having movie nights, and just hanging out with them. He was eagerly looking forward to the birth of his first grandchild and the upcoming sealing of his daughter in the Idaho Falls Temple. He appreciated connecting with his son on his mission and was always there to encourage and counsel with his children. He taught his kids about hard work, being self-reliant and being self-starters. Javier knew his family would be forever and he cherished them.
Physically, Javier was over six feet with an athletic build. Even though that might be intimidating to many, he was very kind and gentle and very well-loved. Javier was a person that you wouldn’t mind asking for help—he was super approachable and loved to make connections with everyone. He was also known for his sense of humor—just ask his children about the ever-changing wifi passwords. He loved being goofy with his kids and shared private jokes with many others. Although he could be very laid back, Javier fiercely protected his family and his school and stood for his principles.
Javier was a man of deep faith in Jesus Christ and a man that could be trusted in all things. He served faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whether as a Sunday School President, Elder’s Quorum President, Sunday School teacher or ministering brother. He was a driving force in his family, his school and our community and will be deeply missed.
A memorial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, September 25, 2021 at Mallard Park, Caldwell, Idaho.
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Feel free to send notes & flowers to Castaneda Family c/o Heritage Community Charter School 1803 E. Ustick Road, Caldwell, ID 83605
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