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James F. "Sri" "Jimmy" McCaughan Jr.

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James F. "Sri" "Jimmy" McCaughan Jr. Obituary
James F. McCaughan Jr. "Sri, Jimmy"

James ""Jim"" F. McCaughan, Jr. (""Sri"" or ""Jimmy"" to friends and family), after a brief illness, left this world for the next on April 27, 2012, in Aptos, CA. A beloved teacher, colleague, comrade and inspirational presence, his passing brings profound sadness to family and friends.

Jim was born on October 5, 1942, in Wilmington, Delaware to James F. and Alice S. McCaughan (predeceased). He graduated from Salesianum High School in 1960 and then earned a BS in Business and Economics from the University of Delaware in 1971. He was named Governor's Advisor for Youth, State of Delaware, in 1972-1974. He went on to obtain a teaching credential in 1989 from San Jose State University.

He worked for Mullins Department Store until it closed and then left Delaware for California. For the past 30 years he lived in Watsonville, CA at Mount Madonna Center, a community inspired by Baba Hari Dass, a silent monk and master yogi from India. The community that he called home is a place designed to nurture the creative arts and health sciences within the context of personal and spiritual growth. He became part of the resident staff and began teaching at Mount Madonna School in 1983. His career as a teacher spanned more than 30 years, and most recently, he also joined the school's Board of Directors.

Jim leaves behind a vibrant educational legacy in the many students who passed through his 5th grade class. He was dedicated to the idea that each child has unique talents and this made him determined to bring out the best in each student. With a warmhearted approach he held students accountable for their own success. He was beloved by his students for his humor and ability to connect with them. He made up playful nicknames for them, and encouraged them to question and think at a deeper level. He wanted students to learn the difference between Achievement and Citizenship, emphasizing that there is a time for both. Above all he was kind and fair. In fact, his class was famous: students could not wait to get to the 5th grade to be in his class as a ""right of passage"" and alumni remember him as one of the most influential and favorite teachers.

His love of the world of nature transferred easily to students. His 5th grade class created a film that won the Siemens ""We Can Change The World Challenge."" In each of the last 5 years, his class also won the ""Disney Planet Challenge"" award for their environmental projects. He is also listed from 1993 to the present in Who's Who Among American Teachers.

Jim was a musician, played the guitar and possessed a rich, strong singing voice. He had a way with people: a devilish charm and humor that endeared him to anyone who had the pleasure of spending time with him. He enjoyed filmmaking, hiking and camping along the Merced River with his students. He enjoyed using technology in the classroom and was in the process of launching a new career in filmmaking. He looked forward to yearly summer visits back home in Delaware reconnecting with family and friends.

He is survived by his wife, Faye McCaughan; three stepchildren, Robin Anderson, Randy Davis (Amy), Mark Davis (Katie); and five grandchildren, Jack & Joseph Davis, Sarah Anderson, Mark & Adam Davis, all of California. He is survived by two sisters, Lois McCaughan of Wilmington, DE; Cate McCaughan; a nephew, James Dillon; and a great niece, Kailea. He is also survived by two aunts, Ann Matiford of Destin, FL; Jean Blackwood (Jerome) of Wellesley, MA; an uncle, Jim Stillwell (Norma) of FL.

There will be a Shraddha Ceremony on Wednesday, May 9, at 9:30 am at Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, CA. A lunch will follow the ceremony. In Delaware there will be a Celebration of Life gathering hosted in the home of Francine Covelli and Carter Grey on Sunday, May 20, 2to 5 pm.Contact or Todd and Debor Breck, (302-428-0738) for more details.

The family suggests donations to Mount Madonna School's ""Sri Gyan McCaughan Scholarship of Excellence and Creativity"" or the school's new multipurpose gymnasium. Mount Madonna School is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational institution, FEIN 94-2693186. Mail c/o Lara Kilpatrick, Director of Advancement, Mount Madonna School, 491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna, CA, 95076. Phone 408-846-4032.
Published in The News Journal from May 4 to May 5, 2012
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