Obituary: Deborah Davis Caughron
Revolutionary champion for nannies, college professor, traveler, genealogist
Deborah Davis Caughron, a resident of Claremont since 1968, died April 18 at the age of 74.
Deborah was born in Casper, Wyoming on January 23, 1945, the first child of Mark Jay and Marjorie Jean Davis.
The Davis family were pre-statehood settlers in Wyoming. An ancestor, Henry “Hard Winter” Davis, of Delaware, ventured to Wyoming to enter the cattle business in Johnson County after the Civil War.
C.K. Bucknum, her great-grandfather, was stationed in the Montana Territory as a US Army Indian scout. After his military service, he ran a freight business from Fort Benton, Montana, which brought him to Casper, where he settled and helped develop the town.
She was educated at local public schools in Casper, graduating from Natrona County High School in 1963. While in high school, she studied abroad in Cordoba, Argentina, which sparked her lifelong interest in cultural, societal and global studies. She continued her education at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1967 with a degree in anthropology.
In July 1974 she married Thomas Caughron at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Casper. The two then settled in Claremont, where they became known for their remarkable celebrations. In 1976 she earned a PhD in early childhood education from Claremont Graduate School.
Mrs. Caughron was a professor of child development for more than 30 years at a number of colleges, including Cal State LA, Cal State Northridge and her alma mater, Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University). Her longest held position was at Rancho Cucamonga’s Chaffey College, where she taught for 32 years. While earning her doctorate, she was also a head teacher at Mary B. Eyre Children’s School.
One of her greatest achievements was her revolutionary development of the International Nanny Association (INA), which she founded in 1985. Her mission was to help legitimize the nanny profession, which furthered her fierce support of preschool education and children’s rights. Since then the INA has become one of the country’s leading associations to press for professional standards, recognition and working conditions for nannies.
She wrote, edited and published the National Nanny Newsletter, emphasizing the need for special training of teachers and in-home caregivers in the education of young children. She received national media attention for her efforts, with interviews on ABC’s Good Morning America, and in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
In addition to her pursuit of higher learning, she was an avid traveler. She enjoyed tracking down sources of her ancestral history in the old west while on cross country road trips to her home state of Wyoming. Many summers were spent visiting with friends and family across the US, from San Francisco to the Outer Banks, and many places in between. She also had many international adventures throughout Europe, Asia and South America.
“Deborah’s lively sense of humor and love for life touched all those who knew her, and she will be missed dearly,” her family shared.
She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Thomas; two sons, Nicholas and Timothy; grandson Anthony; and faithful dog, Max.