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Obituary: Zach Kaufman

Beloved son, father, football player, won scholarship to University of Michigan

Zachary (Zach) Kaufman was born on November 9, 1981. He died unexpectedly in his sleep on June 13 at age 40.

Zach grew up in Claremont. He attended Vista Elementary School, El Roble Intermediate School, and graduated from Claremont High School in 2000.

He was an enthusiastic child, sharing a “big wide grin” which was irresistible even while attempting any manner of shenanigans. He threw himself wholeheartedly into games, projects, and his true love, sports. At an early age (probably six months) he demonstrated amazing and daring athletic abilities. There was never a question of a birthday gift, because it would be whichever sports ball he was currently into. His enthusiasm was infectious, making him a loyal friend and teammate.

He played AYSO and club soccer from kindergarten through junior high. His mom, Kim, made sure there were clean socks and appropriately sized cleats every Saturday (a daunting task for a fast-growing kid!). She was an avid fan and supporter of all his athletic commitments and could be heard cheering on the sidelines as he played his heart out! He also played baseball in Claremont Little League and on a travel team in junior high.

His talent skyrocketed during the four years he played football for the Claremont High Wolfpack, primarily as a linebacker. There, with excellent guidance and coaching, he made lifelong friends who became his extended family. Football helped shape the man he would become. He earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan, where he was a linebacker on the Wolverine football team from 2000 to 2004.

He returned to Claremont and the Inland Empire following his college graduation. He worked primarily in medical sales, with his final job in sales for a commercial roofing company.

He leaves behind his mother Kim; son, Tristen; his love Tiffany and her two children, Faith and Frankie; brother Ashley; sister Lindsey; and a large extended family in Colorado, Santa Barbara, and Wyoming.

A celebration of life and open house will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 24 at Claremont United Church of Christ’s Louise Roberts Room, 233 Harrison Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.

For all the many friends and family asking how to honor Zach, please consider making a charitable donation in his name to the Claremont High School football program at https://org.eteamsponsor.com/ETS/supportUs/414150286, or by check with “Zach Kaufman”” in the memo line, mailed to Claremont High School, 1601 N. Indian Hill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711, Attn: Mike Collins.

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