Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Jay Caulfield, Retired School Principal

By Patti Rasmussen
Signal Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Jay Caulfield
Jay Caulfield with grandson Garen Michael.
J
ay Caulfield, retired principal from Emblem Elementary School in Saugus, died on Thursday in Los Angeles.
    Caulfield, who received a lung transplant last March, had retired shortly before his surgery and spent the last year and a half traveling with his wife Barbara, also retired from the Saugus district.
    Mary McKeon, principal at Cedarcreek Elementary, served as assistant principal under Caulfield at Emblem.
    "He was a very dear man. A good mentor. We're going to miss him," McKeon said. "It's pretty amazing how many people he touched. He was a real people person."
    Caulfield was hired as a Saugus district teacher in 1968. He became principal at Emblem where he stayed for 18 years and led the school when it received the Golden Bell award, the California Distinguished School award and the National Blue Ribbon award.
    Former PTA President Charlotte Murr and her husband Gary, a Saugus school board member, worked at Emblem with Caulfield.
    "He was delightful," Charlotte said. "He supported PTA one hundred and ten percent. Whatever idea we came up with, most of the time he would say, 'yeah, go for it.' Four or five years straight, Emblem PTA got outstanding unit awards. Jay brought out the best in you. He's going to be missed."
    Caulfield's lung transplant was filmed by the Discovery Channel in an episode called "Jay's Story: The Last Chance to Breathe." Barbara Caulfield said the experience was wonderful.
    "We know it was a 27-year-old young lady who lived in Fresno and whose lungs were donated to two people," Barbara said. "My husband got the right lung, and someone in Las Vegas got the left."
    Barbara Caulfield said after the transplant, when Jay was at home, he would scour the want ads, looking for his next job.
    "He looked into driving a school bus, teaching overseas. He even applied as a driver for a 10-wheeler trailer truck," Barbara said. "He never gave up. He loved life, love people, and he loved the community."
    Barbara said the highlight of his retirement was the opportunity to see the birth of his first grandson, Garen Michael.
    Barbara said Jay complained of not feeling well on July 29. He was admitted to UCLA the next day and was discharged on Aug. 5. He was having a hard time and couldn't catch his breath, she said.
    "We actually had a trip planned to Alaska with the whole family," she said. "We were hoping he would have a turn around like he did so many times before."
    Barbara said she cherished the support from her church, St. Clare's Catholic Church in Canyon Country, and Monsignor Ed Renehan.
    "Monsignor Renehan always came to Jay's side when we had to go to Henry Mayo," Barbara said.
    Saugus Assistant Superintendent Joan Lucid said Caulfield was a friend and true professional.
    "He always had time for everyone and everything. He loved his job and he loved his kids. He loved everything about being a principal," she said.
    "His loss is just incredible. We're all better off for having him touch our lives. On the journey through life, we should all know people like Jay."
    Services will be held for Caulfield today at St. Clare, 19606 Calla Way, Canyon Country. Viewing will be from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a rosary and mass to follow.
    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Barbara Caulfield for the Justin Caulfield Memorial Education Fund in care of the Saugus Union School District, 26120 San Canyon Road, Canyon Country, CA 91387.


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