by WYNNE LOVE | photos by Soul of Photography

Master Gardener Jill Coughlin Shares Her Skills Throughout the Community

Jill Coughlin has a life as rich as the gardens she helps tend. Married to her husband, John, for 50 years this November, she has lived in the same home in Del Mar for almost 43 years. Her two grown daughters live close by and, as she explained, she was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom,” allowing her time to work in the schools and get involved with a wide variety of volunteer activities.

2“Twenty-four years ago I started work at the San Diego County Fair as coordinator for the children’s gardening project called Plant*Grow*Eat,” recounted Jill. She also served on the Parks and Recreation Committee for eight years, is a member and past president of the Del Mar Garden Club, was one of the founding members of Friends of the Powerhouse and is a member of the Village Garden Club of La Jolla.

“I’ve always enjoyed gardening and that just led me to get involved with these organizations,” observed Jill. “It’s rewarding to see projects completed that benefit the entire community such as the Powerhouse Community Center, the tot lot playground in Powerhouse Park and now the new Beach and Safety Center.” Jill helped celebrate the new Beach and Safety Center at the luau at the Powerhouse Community Center in early August.3

Not surprisingly, Jill has been recognized repeatedly for her efforts. She was named an Honorary Master Gardener in 2012 by the Master Gardeners and Volunteer of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito, where she is one of the founding members of their Center for a Healthy Lifestyle. “It has been especially rewarding to watch the students plant their vegetable seeds, see them grow into beautiful plants and harvest them and learn to cook something healthy with what they have grown,” described Jill.

Jill’s home life is just as bountiful. “Being with my family and friends is a number one priority,” affirmed Jill. Her daughter, Laurie, lives right in Del Mar. Her other daughter, Cathy, lives in Newport Beach with her husband, Tim, and “two adorable (of course) grandchildren,” added Jill proudly, who now have gardens of their own.

At A Glance

Name: Jill Kinney Coughlin
Community: Del Mar
Volunteer Affiliation: Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito Center for a Healthy Lifestyle Del Mar Garden Club Friends of the Powerhouse Village Garden Club of La Jolla Honorary Master Gardener
Profession: Coordinator at the San Diego County Fair for the Plant*Grow*Eat program. I have been doing it for 24 years and have had about 325,000 students plant their seeds and bring their edible plants to the Fair to be judged. Everyone receives a ribbon or two.
Hobbies: Gardening and activities with friends and family.
Family: Husband (of 50 years this November) – John; Children – Laurie, a resident of Del Mar, Cathy (and husband Tim); Grandchildren – Jack (almost 8) and Gracie (4)