From the Radio WebLog vault - My Pop
On his birthday... the Eulogy from the Funeral at the Church...
John I. Vaughan, a retired businessman, died Feb. 15, 2005 in his Hingham, Mass. home. He was 91.
Mr. Vaughan was born in South Boston, and raised in Dorchester. He graduated from Boston College High School, in 1931, and Boston College in 1935. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in Italy during World War II.
He worked for 25 years for S.C. Johnson's of Racine, Wisconsin. He took part in the company's sales efforts in the Pacific in the late 1940s, leading a sales group in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Vaughan served as the S. C Johnson's credit manager in Racine, at the time of his retirement in 1970.
Active in civic affairs, Mr. Vaughan served with the United Way, the Racine chapter of the United Cerebral Palsy campaign, and served as head of the Shamrock Club of Racine Wisconsin. Mr. Vaughan retired to Hingham in 1972. He was an active member of St. Paul's church in Hingham.
He leaves his wife, Mary (Hickey); two sons, Jack and Michael, both of Boston, and one grandchild. A daughter, Kate, died in 1988.
My father took great care of his family, he served his country - at the center of everything was the church.
After moving to Hingham he came here just about every day until just a little while ago, really. Many of you saw him. We were with him, not too long ago, at his childhood church of St. Peters in Dorchester, a tremendous place, and you could see how warm it made him feel. In the class room as a boy he stared at the map of the world, he stared at faraway Argentina, and one day, he went there. Think about it, he graduated from St. Peter's in about 1927!
And he remembered some fun. I'll share a secret. He told us that day when we were back at St Peters how he and the other altar boys would run and race across the tops of the pews after mass. As you know he could be proper, so this was a weird story to hear. .A week later, when the 2nd grade teacher told us our son had been seen running across the top of classroom desktops, I knew where the idea came from, and really couldnt get mad.
Some fifteen or twenty years ago, he was called up here morning. Is there anyone who can act as an altar server? In fact the service called for him to man the incense burning censure. Which he did robustly. The smoke was thick and lofted high .. set of the sensors and the fire department arrived.
He was born on A Street in S.Boston. The long-time family stead was on Claiborne St. in Dorchester. He was totally devoted to his mother. As my cousin Ann can better detail, as the baby of the family he caught a few breaks, got to learn the violin, and go to college. But the depression was not full of breaks, he wanted to go into advertising. But he had to work as a pipefitter's helper at the Charleston Navy Yard. And then as a salesman traveling though Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. He was among the first to be drafted, and he got out of the army only in time for World War II to start and to go back in again. Not easy. But not really any complaints.
Life has been good to us. My father took care of us. He was totally devoted to my mother, to my sister, to my brother, to my wife and son, to me. He affirmed life. My mother and father took care of my sister completely every day for 33 years. And again, maybe strange to say, I never heard a discouraging word. He was my cowboy dad. My father carried my sister, in his arms when needed, everywhere that was needed. This is something I will always remember: In the 50s, if you were a child and you were disabled, you were told to stay home, and not go to school. I dont remember complaints. I do remember my father and mother and other parents renting an old school house out there past 4-Mile drive in Racine, and hiring teachers, and starting a school. My dad got a an engineer from Johnson's to design a ramp for wheelchairs. They did it all, a long time ago, from first principles. They had troubles..but they were good troubles.
He was active. The house was always alive. And he could throw it into a tizzy. Just one story of that: I remember the Fuel crisis on 1972. Gaslines, inflation. Then the news said a shortage of bread! He flew into action. Made everyone in the house put their money in a hat. I had $11. My brother, way more. He went out and bought a breadmaker, and tons of flour. He was a depression kid from the greatest generation. He was our favorite - our beloved father.
In the last year my mother and father have been watching the mass on TV more. They prayed the rosary before going to bed for all of 56 years and also on ... the night he died. As I said, this is the center for him, and he is glad to be here with you, and to be with God. Go home - to live - with God.
When my sister passed away we stood like we will today by the grave. My dad was almost serene. He had told me before of a time in the war, in Italy, flying in a two-engined B-25 with one engine out. With no side doors.. the plane was open to the air. With no seats, no seatbelts, and the pilot banking the plan to compensate for the lost engine, my father held on desperately to some part of the fuselage structure, and looked straight down into the sea. And he thought if I go now, no one will every find me.
Looking at my sister's grave, with his own name already embossed on it, he said, its nice to know where you are going to end up. We are glad too to feel we know where he is going to end up. Death has no power. - Jack Vaughan, 2005
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