Vaughn G. Bills|
1924 ~ 2014
Salt Lake City, Utah-Born on the kitchen table on April 26th, 1924 in Salt Lake City as the first of two sons to Glenn C. and Pearl Bills, Vaughn died in his own bed at home on January 3rd at exactly 5:00 PM as a result of advancing Alzheimer's disease and a resent stroke. Over the past ten years he cheated death so many times that even the cat with nine lives would blush. He was shooting for "one hundred and twenty"; he almost made ninety! Although he wasn't perfect, he was a highly energetic man; an achiever who regularly set the bar high for himself.
Vaughn attended Wasatch Elementary School and Irving Junior High, and later graduating from East High School in 1941. While at East he developed many lifelong friends some of whom, after watching him successfully milk a cow at the state fair, dubbed him farmer "Zeke", a moniker that followed him throughout life.
During World War II Vaughn enlisted in the United States Navy as a navigator and served as a Second Lieutenant in the North Atlantic and the Pacific. While in the Philippines he and a buddy, who resembled Gen Douglas MacArthur, delighted in the public attention they garnered while driving a jeep through the streets of Manila with his buddy wearing dark glasses and smoking a corn cobb pipe.
Vaughn graduated as a Civil Engineer from the University of Utah and then courted Betty Mae West, daughter of Rulon and Flora West. The two were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 8, 1952. Being opposites in character and personality, they were a "perfect" match! While Vaughn designed bridges for the State Highway Department (some of which are still in use today), Betty began raising children.
Betty received the shock of her life when Vaughn came home one day and announced that he had resigned his "good" job with the State for a business venture with this dad and brother, selling trailers on a lot in South Salt Lake! For several years it was "chicken today and feathers tomorrow" but through long hours and hard work, the business thrived, eventually evolving into a mobile home park community in West Valley City and fifty acres of raw land on which the E-Center is now located today.
In 1959 Vaughn and Betty relocated their family to the East Millcreek area, where they built a house in a rural area composed, at the time, mostly of alph alpha fields and orchards. Soon the neighborhood filled in and the Valley View Seventh Ward was created.
Not long thereafter, Vaughn approached the bishop, indicating that his boys wanted to be Cub Scouts. "We're not going to have a cub program right now, Vaughn; there isn't enough interest in it". Hours later, after returning from Scout Headquarters, Vaughn announced that he had just been made a "den mother" and that den meetings would start tomorrow. Within several weeks the basement was filled with boys and the bishop's phone ringing off the hook! Before long Vaughn was called as the first pack master of the ward.
This strange turn of events launched a lifelong career in Scouting that would include eight years of high adventure Boy Scouting with literally hundreds of boys, fifty mile hikes, hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and through the Zion's Narrows and eventually a Silver Beaver Award, Scouting's highest honor for volunteer scouters. As a youth Vaughn received the Eagle Scout Award and was also in the Sea Scouts.
Vaughn's "callings" in the neighborhood and Church were, for the most part, self-created; little league baseball and neighborhood parties. Every fall Vaughn and a neighborhood friend would fill the back of his pickup truck with neighborhood grown fruit and produce and the two would personally distribute it to the indigent under the viaduct and to the parishioners of Saint Theresa's Catholic Church in Midvale.
At the age of fifty-six, a creeping ulterior "fear" of death motivated Vaughn to get on a health food "kick" and take up marathon running. Beginning then and continuing until age seventy, he completed twenty- six full marathons, including the Boston and was only forced to quit because of a bad hip.
Of the many lessons; good, bad and even ugly, which his incredible life had to teach, Vaughn's final lesson, derived from his past ten year health struggle, surely would have been "don't give up so soon guys, you've got more gas than you think, gung ho, don't give up the ship"!
Dad we love you…… we will miss you. May the Lord enfold you in the arms of his everlasting love and keep you….. till that day when we shall meet again.
Vaughn is survived by his four children, Christian, divorced (Diane Hall Prince), Gregory (Wendy), Richard (Carolyn), Tamara (Douglas), 15 incredible grandchildren and five beautiful great-grand-children. Vaughn was preceded in death by his parents Glenn C. and Pearl Ellen Doyle Bills, Betty Mae West Bills and his only sibling, Hal D. Bills.
Viewing with be held at the Valley View Stake Center located at 2245 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City, UT on Friday January 10th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Pre-Funeral Viewing at the same location on Saturday January 11th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM; funeral at 11:00 AM. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park located at 3401 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, UT.
Personal condolences may be expressed on line at www.wasatchlawn.com.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Jan. 7 to Jan. 9, 2014