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Wayne Holmes Caplinger II ’78

Wayne Holmes Caplinger II ’78, August 7, 2013, in California. Wayne came to Reed from Richland, Washington, where he was salutatorian of his class and a National Merit Scholar. He earned the rank of eagle in the Boy Scouts and went with his father, a scout leader, to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 1971. There, Wayne was selected to climb Mount Fuji. Randy Hardee ’80, who recently informed the college of Wayne’s death, met Wayne during freshman year at Reed in Math 200 and Physics 130 classes. Wayne earned a BA from Reed in mathematics and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in artificial intelligence. He went to work for Teknowledge in Palo Alto, California, where he helped develop the first “look ahead” data technology. His career took him to 15 countries, including Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, and South Africa. An accomplished athlete in his youth, Wayne explored judo, cross-country skiing, orienteering, scuba and cave diving, and sailing. He was a ski and sailing instructor, worked with ski rescue, and was a member of the Bay Area Orienteering Club. He was passionate about dancing and enjoyed English country and contra dancing with his wife, Robin Prothro, whom he married in 1992. He also enjoyed theatre and music, including opera, and taught himself to play a range of instruments. Later, as a guild member along with his partner Angela, he participated in the Renaissance Faire, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, and in dance troupes such as the Merry Pryanksters and the New Queen’s Ha’Penny Consort. Wayne’s pleasure in performance was apparent to Randy in the late ’70s, on Randy’s first trip to the Clinton Street Theater showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “Wayne led the Reed contingent into the theatre, wearing a cat suit that he’d made for the occasion, and clicking a pair of finger cymbals.” Wayne and Robin had a son, Andrew (Jamie), and a daughter, Bronwyn. While his children were at the East Bay Waldorf School, Wayne served as a volunteer to teach students to juggle and to ride a unicycle. He founded the Berkeley High School Orienteering Club and supported student endeavors leading to successful outcomes in state, regional, and national interscholastic competitions.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2015

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