Wesley McCaughan

Obituary of Wesley McCaughan

Wesley A. McCaughan, 93, of Princeton died peacefully at his home on April 15th, surrounded by three generations of his family.

Wes was born in Hartford, CT, in 1924, to Wesley McCaughan, Sr., and Sara Wilhelmina Adams McCaughan, soon after his parents emigrated from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  The family moved to Princeton in 1926.  His father, a skilled master cabinetmaker, worked for the then Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research, now the Plasma Physics Laboratory.  His mother was a secretary at Princeton University when very few women worked outside the home.

A 1942 graduate of Princeton High School , he then spent one year at Trenton State Teachers College, now the College of New Jersey, before being drafted in 1943.  He served three years in the Signal Corps, and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.  After an additional year in the Army, he returned to Princeton.  In 1948, he married Judith Ellen Vose, whom he had met just before he was shipped to Europe, and they soon became the parents of three daughters.   He finished college in 1949, earning a BS in English education, and received a Masters of Education at Rutgers in 1951, with the help of the GI Bill.

In 1955, a high school classmate told him of a job opening at Princeton Country Day School, a private school for boys, which was affiliated with Miss Fine’s school for girls.  Wes taught English, reading, and ancient history, and coached the baseball team.   PDS and Miss Fine’s merged in 1965 and became Princeton Day School.  He worked as admissions director for eight years, but then returned to his first love, teaching, for the remainder of his career—a total of 32 years at the two schools.   Wes retired in 1987, but continued his association with PDS.  He was the guest of honor at a luncheon last year.

One of the accomplishments he was most proud of was his role as the co-founder, with his friend, Marshall Clagett,  of the Romeos (retired old men eating out).  This group, which was established over twenty years ago, met in various Princeton locations over the years.  Today, five days a week, at 10 a.m., the Romeos are a familiar sight at Bon Appetit in the Princeton Shopping Center, discussing current events over coffee.

Wes was a gentleman and a scholar, a gifted educator, and a life-long learner, interested in the world around him even in his 90’s.  He was revered by his students, admired by his colleagues, and cherished by his friends and family.   At various stages in his life, he was an avid golfer; a photographer for N. T. Callaway Real Estate, where his wife, Judy, worked; and was a passionate surfer of the web.  He was often seen in town driving his smart car, riding his bike, or taking a long stroll.  He spent many happy vacations at the Jersey shore with his family.

He was predeceased by his parents;  sister, Phyllis McCauley; and his beloved wife of 64 years, Judith.   He is survived by three daughters, Wendy Jolley (Michael) of Princeton; Carey Hoover (Stuart), of Lawrenceville; Marny McCaughan of Riverside, IL.; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Wes’s life will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 3:00 p.m. at Princeton Cemetery.  All are welcome.  Following the service there will be a reception at Princeton Day School, The Great Road.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Princeton Day School Scholarship Fund which will be established in his name.

Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.