William Anderson Vaughan, Junior, was born on February 2, 1938, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the firstborn son of William Anderson Vaughan and Martha O’Reilly Vaughan, of Vaughan, MS. Mr. Vaughan, who was known over the course of his life by many nicknames, including Bill, Sonny, Doc, Daddy, and Pappy, attended Benton High School (1956), Mississippi State University, and Jackson School of Law (1969), and was a childhood member of Ellison Methodist Church in Vaughan.
Bill was in the MS Air National Guard, which reinforced his love of aviation. In 1962, he was federalized by President Kennedy to escort James Meredith to his Ole Miss classes. This event conferred upon him the Veteran status he cherished for a lifetime. In 1967, he met his future wife Betty, a nurse from Texas who lived in the apartment above him. They married in 1969, and had two children, Robert Anderson in 1971, and Amy Elizabeth in 1976. He had a myriad of jobs, but his love of the land was his vocation— farming soybeans and cotton.
In his middle years, he was an avid pilot and self-employed in farm equipment sales. However, in his later years, his love of nature compelled him to return to farming in the form of forestry, and he was actively involved in the Forestry Associations of Yazoo, Madison, and Holmes Counties. He checked his trees every day and loved to take his children and grandchildren out to see the trees. Country rides with him consisted of driving very slowly and stopping often, to check on all the crops he saw, even if they weren’t his. His left arm was permanently sunburnt from hanging out the driver’s side window. He was a master at utilizing land for many purposes: growing trees, renting land to hunters, and participating in conservation programs. He also greatly enjoyed hunting deer and turkeys, and he was an expert in planting things that these critters liked to eat.
Bill was an avid historian, amateur meteorologist, reader, and an astute strategist, who knew many arcane things. He took his daughter to her first opera, La Boheme, and explained to her what was happening, since it was in Italian. No one was aware of him ever having learned about Italian opera. He was especially interested in genealogy, and traced the family back to Charlemagne. He was a member of the Jamestowne Society, and travelled to South Carolina and Virginia to do his lineage research. He was very proud of his daughter’s induction into the Daughters of the American Revolution.
He was a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church of Canton, where he taught Sunday School, as well as an active member of the Canton Rotary Club. He could often be seen on the Canton Square, a staunch member of the local coffee club. He loved watching the antics of his feisty granddaughters and their dog, Bear. He also fed all the squirrels and birds in his backyard. He took great joy in God’s gift to us, the beauty of animals and nature.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Betty; his children, Robert Anderson Vaughan, and Amy Vaughan Van Hecke (Jeremiah); his beloved, redheaded granddaughters, Aniela Marie Van Hecke and Matilda Larkin Van Hecke, who likely reminded him of his redheaded, Irish mother; and his brother Thomas Hugh Vaughan, his nephew, Thomas Hugh Vaughan, Junior (Kim), and his great-nephew, Thomas Hugh Vaughan, III.
He spent the past three years battling strokes, and his family is very grateful for the excellent love and care he received at the MS VA Home in Kosciusko. His sweet smile, deep thoughts, dry sense of humor, and quiet chuckle will never be forgotten. He spoke rarely and quietly, but, when he did, everyone listened. He was the definition of “still waters run deep.” He was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. He will be laid to rest near his parents in the family plot at Black Jack Cemetery, Vaughan, MS, on January 13, 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi.
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