Renda Lindley McCaughan

McCaughan—Renda Lindley McCaughan, 79, on July 26, 2021, in Stamford, Conn. Renda was born Renda Wong Lindley on March 19, 1942, to Quaker parents Samuel Edward Lindley and Marion Yin Ping (Wong) Lindley in Honolulu, Hawaii. Following the birth of her sister, Renie, the family moved to Ithaca, N.Y., where their father earned a doctorate degree at Cornell University. Three more sisters were born while he taught in upstate New York and eastern Pennsylvania. Each Lindley sister has the Chinese character “ren” included in her name, meaning “love” in the sense of “benevolence.”

Renda graduated from high school in 1959 and moved back to Hawaii with her family, where she attended the University of Hawaii. Renda graduated from Cornell University with a master’s in microbiology in 1966, then went to Kathmandu, Nepal, to work with the Dooley Foundation on a King-sponsored health survey. At the end of six months, Renda rejoined her family in Hawaii. An avid folk dancer at Cornell, Renda found a folk dance group near the University of Hawaii and there met Peter McCaughan. Renda and Pete married under the care of Honolulu (Hawaii) Meeting in 1968.

Pete worked in the information technology department, and Renda was the chief bacteriologist at Kauikeolani Children’s Hospital. While in Hawaii their sons, David (1970) and Michael (1973), were born. Renda left her position at the hospital to raise their children.

Renda loved to cook and with such variety that one savored every dinner because one was most likely not to see the same menu again.

Pete’s work took the family to Marin County, Calif., in 1973, where they often worshiped surrounded by magnificent redwoods. Renda volunteered at the Marin County Public Health Lab where she wrote a manual on how to handle virus specimens which was then distributed to all the county labs in California.

In 1983, the family moved to Wilton, Conn., where David and Michael graduated from high school and went on to college. Renda was active in Wilton Meeting, where she edited the newsletter and served on the Ministry and Oversight Committee.

Ten years later Pete’s career took them to Minneapolis, Minn., and Twin Cities Meeting in St. Paul. Renda disliked the cold weather, but with David and Michael in college, Pete and Renda were free to explore cultural events offered by the Twin Cities.

In 1998, Pete’s job relocated to Atlanta, Ga., where Renda and Pete enjoyed the warmer weather, excellent museums, many ethnic restaurants, and the large Atlanta Meeting. Renda volunteered in the office, and both Renda and Pete volunteered on committees. Most of all they made wonderful lifelong friends.

In March 2004, David and his wife, Jenn, welcomed their daughter, Samantha Lindley McCaughan, into the family. Following retirement in 2010, Renda and Pete found a home in New Milford, Conn., close to Samantha, Dave, and Jenn, and rejoined Wilton Meeting. To Renda, nothing was more important than Quakerism and family. When Mike moved to Stamford in 2017, their family was complete.

After a year of dealing with cancer, Renda and Pete made the decision to stop Renda’s treatment. The immediate family gathered, made her comfortable, and made sure she knew that they were all there for her in the end, as she had been there for them her whole life.

Renda is survived by her husband, Peter McCaughan; two children, David McCaughan (Jennifer Kullgren McCaughan) and Michael McCaughan; one grandchild; and four sisters, Renie Lindley, Ren’ai Lindley, Lorene Lindley-Mills, and Cherene Lindley-Trujillo.

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