In Memory

Jennifer Trzyna (Caughman) - Class Of 1982 VIEW PROFILE

May 23, 1964 - Mar 11, 2012

College administrator, College administrator, writer, editor, Pitzer alumna, animal lover, devoted wife

Jennifer Trzyna Caughman, an Ontario resident with many Claremont connections, died unexpectedly on March 11, 2012. She was 47.

Mrs. Caughman was born on May 23,1964 in Kinshasa in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the time, her father was a diplomat posted at the American Embassy in that city. As an infant, her family moved to the US and settled in Claremont where she attended preschool at the Claremont United Church of Christ Early Childhood Center followed by Sycamore Elementary School, El Roble Intermediate School and Claremont High School (CHS). Prior to CHS, she spent one year at Nordhoff High School in Ojai. In 1988, she graduated from Pitzer College with an English degree.

An accomplished writer and editor, Mrs. Caughman started her career editing books at the California Institute of Public Affairs and then at Hunter House, a trade book publisher. She then worked in development at the Claremont School of Theology followed by joining the staff of Scripps College in 1992 as a staff writer and director of stewardship in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Most recently at Scripps, Mrs. Caughman served as assistant secretary to the board of trustees, a position she held for many years.

“Jennifer’s work touched every area of the college, and for over 20 years, Scripps College has benefited from her professionalism, her well-honed organizational and writing skills and from the many other talents she brought to her job,” stated Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga in a statement to the Scripps community. “A friend to many she will be missed.”

Linda Scott, executive assistant to Ms. Bettison-Varga, worked closely with Mrs. Caughman and remarked on her contributions as assistant secretary to the board. “She was part of everything that made our work with the board of trustees run so smoothly. She was vibrant and energetic and had amazing attention to detail,”Ms. Scott said. All of us who knewand loved her are truly saddened by her death.”

A spiritual woman, Mrs. Caughman followed the teachings of Subud and attended weekly gatherings with fellow practitioners. She enjoyed quilting and vegetable gardening and was an avid reader of history and contemporary fiction. She was particularly drawn to novels that explored the status of women in various cultures around the world. “Books about the challenges women face and the obstacles they overcome in Middle Eastern countries and places like Afghanistan really fascinated her,” commented her husband, Rick Caughman. “She had a strong sense of admiration for these women. They became heroes of hers.”

Mrs. Caughman loved animals and always had a menagerie of them in the house: 2 dogs, 2  parakeets and 2 rats kept her company most recently. One pup in particular, “Keeper,” a terrier mix that she rescued, was a special companion. “She was like a kindred little spirit,” said Mr. Caughman. She enjoyed the close friendship of many people, which was made poignantly evident to her husband during this time of grief. “I’ve been amazed at how many lives she touched,” he said. “She was loved by a lot of people.”

Mrs. Caughman adored her pets; she cherished her friends. But most important to her was her family. “Nothing meant more to her than her kids,” said Mr. Caughman. “She was a phenomenal mother. She gave me 2 perfect people. That’s who she left me with.” Mrs. Caughman willingly and happily went out of her way for her children, age 14 and 18, going to great lengths to help them with whatever they needed, whether it was schoolwork, projects, extracurricular activities, specialized medical attention or an inventive idea or dream they wanted to carry out.

“She was so supportive of everything I did,” said her daughter, Emily, a freshman at Chaffey High School. “She was there for me. And I could tell her everything. She was just awesome. She was funny and quirky and very kind-hearted. All-around amazing.”

Mrs. Caughman is survived by her husband of 23 years, Rick Caughman of Ontario; her son and daughter, Timothy and Emily Caughman of Ontario; her father, Ted Trzyna of Claremont; and her mother, Deborah Hollenbeck of Ontario.

A memorial service was held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. Memorial donations may be made to a college fund established for the Caughman children, Tim and Emily, c/o Rick Caughman, 303 W. Caroline Ct., Ontario, CA 91762; Or, to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,

~ Claremont Courier, March 21, 2012


Click here to see Jennifer's last Profile entry.