• 36°

James “Jeb” Caudill, 39

MICHIGAN, March 5 – James Edward Bryan Stuart “Jeb” Caudill, 39, of East Lansing, Michigan, died Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing after suffering a brain aneurysm two days earlier.

Mr. Caudill was born January 29, 1970, as the second son of Fred and Arden Caudill. He was born in southwest Virginia and grew up in West Virginia before moving with his family to Crewe, prior to the start of high school. He graduated from Prince Edward Academy in Farmville in 1988, and earned a bachelor's degree in history from James Madison University in 1993.

Mr. Caudill began a career in newspapers by working for his older brother briefly at a small weekly in West Virginia. He became the photographer of the Page News and Courier in 1993 and later was named a staff writer prior to his departure in 1996. He then became editor and general manager of The Farmville Enterprise published by Cox Newspapers in Farmville, N.C., where he also served on boards for the Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club. He would breath new life into the paper, and be offered a position to manage the company's largest weekly in eastern North Carolina, The Chowan Herald in Edenton. He would leave Cox Newspapers to return to Luray in 2000.

Mr. Caudill served as editor and general manager of the Page News and Courier from 2000 to 2006. In 2005, he also assumed the same role for the Shenandoah Newspaper Corporation, which included management of The Shenandoah Valley-Herald in Woodstock.

After meeting the love of his life in Page County, Mr. Caudill moved with his future wife to East Lansing, MI where she earned a position as associate professor at Michigan State University. On May 17, 2008, Mr. Caudill married the high school teacher that had captured his heart, Jennifer “Jeno” Rivera, who he would remain a loyal and loving husband to until his untimely passing.

Upon moving to Michigan, Mr. Caudill became a public relations director for the Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross. He remained in that position until August 2008, when he took over responsibility for marketing and sales for Michigan Virtual University, which specializes in online education for K-12 students.

An avid angler and sports fan, Mr. Caudill loved time spent fishing for smallmouth bass on the Shenandoah River or watching his favorite football teams – the Washington Red-skins, the Mountaineers of West Virginia and the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia.

Prior to his death, Mr. Caudill made a decision to become an organ donor. Due to that decision, five lives were saved when medical staff found recipients for his heart, liver, both kidneys and pancreas. Skin tissue was also collected, which could help between 50 to 100 recipients.

Mr. Caudill was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jim and Carolyn Caudill, formerly of Grundy; and his maternal grandparents, Maj. Otto B. Osmondson, USMC retired, and Arden Lane Kenny, both of Fredericksburg.

In addition to his wife and parents, Mr. Caudill is survived by a brother, Scott Caudill of Charleston, WV; a sister, Myranda Caudill of Luray; a father- and mother-in-law, Ozzie and Lillie Rivera of Fairfax; a brother-in-law, James Rivera of Springfield and wife, Lynda and their daughter, Isabella; a sis-ter-in-law, Jessica Rivera of Los Angeles, CA, and husband, Andrew Lukich and their children, Caius and Aurelius; aunt, Omalee Hawkins and husband, Paul of Grundy and their four children; an uncle, W.J. Caudill and wife, Susan of Grundy, and their two daughters; an aunt, Martha Caudill and husband, Larry Bradley of Roanoke, and their two children, Julianna Ashby and Andrew Paul Caudill; uncle, I.D. Caudill of Roanoke, and his two children; one niece, Katelyn; and two nephews, Jackson and Benjamin.

His first cousins will form a circle of love to take Jeb to the river, Teresa Lee Snead Fletcher, Johnny Keith Fletcher, Joe Wilbur Snead, James Glenn Snead, John Russell Snead, Alice Kelly Reynic Caudill Compton, Whitney Jane Amanda Caudill, Esq., Julianna Ashby, Andrew Paul Caudill, Dr. Alana Colleen McQuarry, DMV, and Corey Ward Caudill.

The family will receive friends during a viewing at the Bradley Funeral Home in downtown Luray beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 6.

A celebration of life memorial service is set for a 1 p.m. “kick-off” on Saturday, March 7 at the funeral home. Jeb's brother-in-law, Andrew Lukich of Los Angeles, CA, will officiate the service. The family has asked that those who attend the celebration of life service on Saturday to please wear a “hint” of green.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made either to the United Way of Page County or toward the future education of Jeb's unborn child, his little “Gummy Bear.” Please send United Way contributions to: United Way of Page County, P.O. Box 663, Luray, Va. 22835. To make contributions to the education fund, please make checks payable to Scott Caudill and send to: Jeb's “Gummy Bear” Fund, c/o SunTrust Bank, 20 East Luray Shopping Center, Luray, Va. 22835.

Bradley Funeral Home, Luray, is handling the arrangements.