Death of Noel Kastner

A former member of Honiton Rotary Club and leading South West businessman has died.

Noel Walmsley Kastner died at his Western Australian home last Thursday. He was 93.

He leaves a son, daughter, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Mr Kastner made his name in the South West after he established the successful Volvo dealership in Exeter during the early 1970s.

Having started his education in Bromsgrove, he convinced his father to allow him to leave in order to join the family business, C W Walmsley & Co, cotton manufacturers of Oswaldtwistle, as an apprentice.

On December 24, 1937, Noel was engaged to Angela Mary Carus, a daughter of another North West England cotton manufacturer.

The couple were married on January 12 in 1939 and remained devoted to each other until Angela died in 2004.

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Noel joined the Territorial Army, East Lancashire Regiment, in 1937 and, in August 1939, received a telephone call to say the battalion was being mobilised.

This was the end of his cotton trade life for the next six-and-a-half years.

Noel served with the British First Army and saw active service at Dunkirk and throughout North Africa, completing his military service having risen to the rank of major.

In 1946, he swapped military life for the cotton trade.

Following the war he found business was difficult and, in 1955, the Kastner brothers decided to sell their business.

Having established a family, Noel decided to emigrate to New South Wales, Australia, in 1959 and bought a house on Sydney’s northshore.

A spell in real estate during a general downturn of the Australian economic climate clinched the decision to return to England and, in mid 1962, Noel returned with his wife and son. His two daughters were now married.

Upon his return, a business opportunity arose in Honiton to purchase a car dealership as Kastner of Honiton Ltd.

In turn, he had the opportunity to become the main dealer for the Swedish Volvo car company, something which involved a move to Magdalen Road, Exeter, in search of larger premises.

This was the start of the highly successful Kastner of Exeter, Volvo dealers.

In the mid 1970’s, Noel retired to Western Australia, regularly returning to the UK.

During retirement, he was an active member of Rotary, which he originally joined in Honiton.

He was a great reader, accomplished poet and writer.