Caitlin Elizabeth DeJong
Caitlin Elizabeth DeJong, of St. Petersburg, Florida, passed away on November 8, 2022, in Portland, Oregon.
Caitlin was born in Fallbrook, California to John and Debbie DeJong on November 8, 1992. She traveled the world as a military child, attending schools in Hawaii, Virginia, Okinawa, and Colorado. Caitlin was regarded as a gifted and talented student. At a young age, she loved to read and one of her favorite book collections was Harry Potter. Caitlin loved creating art and was awarded numerous ribbons. Many of her art creations were featured in the school district’s publication, which showcased young artists. Caitlin was a Girl Scout, starting at the Brownie level and continuing on to become a Junior and a Cadette. Throughout her middle school years, she enjoyed skateboarding and playing soccer. Caitlin’s academic success was recognized when she was inducted into the National Honor Society. At Caroline High School, Caitlin played field hockey and blossomed into a singer and performer. She loved the theater and was selected for several lead roles as a freshman and sophomore. As a freshman, she played Emily, the heroine, in the play, “Our Town”. It was written in the local newspaper that Caitlin DeJong played just as well, if not better than a college actor.
After moving to Colorado, she attended an International Baccalaureate high school and was in the theater program. Caitlin loved music and enjoyed attending concerts of her favorite artists and bands, which led her to learn to play the guitar and write lyrics. Caitlin loved singing and earned a golden ticket at Universal Studios Florida American Idol competition. She went on to compete in the American Idol tryouts in Denver, Colorado at Mile High Stadium. Caitlin graduated from high school in 2011 and attended Colorado Mesa University. While she was in college, Caitlin modeled and developed an interest in beauty and make-up.
Throughout her young adulthood, Caitlin successfully worked in retail for many companies including Hollister, TJ Maxx, and H & M. From the time she was young, she was a huge fan of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, and she had always hoped to visit the Australian Zoo. Caitlin loved animals and she regularly volunteered at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. When she moved back to St. Petersburg, Caitlin became a member of Grace Family Church and sang in the church choir. She loved singing and doing activities with other members of the church family. Caitlin will be remembered for being a beautiful, creative, funny, and intelligent young woman. She accepted people as they were and tried to help others when she could.
Caitlin is survived by her parents, Debbie and John, her sisters, Cassidy and Celine and her niece, Oakley. Her extended family includes her Grandma Donna, grandparents Don and Joyce and Bob and Mary Lou, Great Aunt Janice, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Dirk and Aunt Janie, and her cousins Doug and Allison. Previously departed loved ones include her Grandma Jackie, her Great Aunt Jeannie, and our family dog, Courtney (aka John Deere) all with whom she shared a special bond.
A Memorial Service will be held on December 15th at Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida. In lieu of flowers or gifts, a donation can be made to Grace Family Church South Tampa Campus or to Steve Irwin’s foundation, Australian Zoo Wildlife Warriors in memory of Caitlin Elizabeth DeJong.