Cover photo for Tara Causgrove's Obituary
Tara Causgrove Profile Photo
1984 Tara 2016

Tara Causgrove

June 21, 1984 — December 8, 2016

Tara Causgrove died on December 8th, after a brief illness. She was born in Syracuse on June 21, 1984, and attended Syracuse City Schools. She graduated from Nottingham High School and went on to earn a BA in English (Cum Laude) from Ithaca College in 2006, and an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Syracuse University in 2016. She lived in New York City and Chicago, but most of her life was spent in Syracuse.

Tara began working on her M.S. degree while working as the coordinator of the youth programs at Catholic Charities. In August of 2015 she returned to graduate school full-time, having received a graduate research assistantship working in the S.U. School of Education. She earned her degree in August of 2016 and was preparing to begin a career as a family counselor.

As a young woman Tara was the ultimate jock. She played soccer and lacrosse and was a National Caliber speed skater, skating from the age of 6 to age 14, when she finished in the top 3 of American women speed skaters in her age group.

Tara's commitment to others became serious when she returned to Syracuse after teaching at a Montessori School in Chicago and began an internship at Catholic Charities as an AmeriCorps volunteer. She worked with young people in an after-school program, which also included working with teenagers with developmental delays. These were the experiences that must have instilled in Tara, a compassion and commitment to others that characterized the rest of her short life. In 2010 she began working full time at Catholic Charities as the youth coordinator. This eventually became a program for refugee youth. Tara, soft-spoken, funny and always professional, became an advocate for young refugees who had suffered trauma, PTSD, and experienced difficulties adapting to American culture and the Syracuse City School system. With the young refugees, Tara was kind, respectful and always encouraging, and they loved and respected her in return. She mentored young mothers with babies, counseled families who suffered tragedy here in America and responded every time she was called on for help.

In 2014, in response to a local Burmese refugee family, Tara traveled to Thailand to visit and offer support to unsanctioned Karen schools for young people. She visited the refugee clinics at Mae Sot, Thailand and then, accompanied by a Karen man acting as her guard, she walked for several days, through the mountains, on jungle trails, bringing in money, soccer balls and school supplies to remote areas in the Karen State in Burma. She spent several days tutoring students in English before walking back through the jungle to Thailand losing her toenails and 20 lbs.

Tara Causgrove was a young woman with a passionate commitment to oppressed and underserved people. She was loved by her circle of high school and college friends, the refugee community, the families she counseled, and the faculty and students in her graduate program at Syracuse University.

She is survived by her parents, Elizabeth and Patrick Causgrove of Syracuse, brothers, Daniel and Brendan Causgrove of New Orleans, LA, foster brother Jason Layton of Destin FL, and aunts Ellen Causgrove of Annandale, VA and Jane Causgrove of Erie PA. Other family includes aunts and uncles, Susan and Peter Hand of Canajoharie NY, Janet and Richard Hand of Phoenix AZ and Phyllis Hand of Bradenton FL. She is also survived by her loving companion Michael Manning of Syracuse,
and her beloved dog, Duncan.

A funeral service in celebration of Tara's life will be at 10 am on Thursday, December 15th at Burns-Garfield Life Celebration Home. 3175 East Genesee St Syracuse. Calling hours will be held on Wednesday from 4-7 pm at the funeral home. To share a message of condolence with the family please visit

The Causgrove family would like to thank the hundreds of people who have expressed their love and support during Tara's brief illness. Their outpouring is comforting to the family and demonstrates that Tara has touched many lives. They also appreciate the care and advice provided by the Oncology and MICU doctors and nurses at Upstate University Hospital.

If you wish to honor Tara, instead of flowers, please make a donation to Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (Refugee Resettlement Program).
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Tara Causgrove, please visit our flower store.


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