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Gary Vaughn

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Gary Vaughn Obituary
Gary Vaughn

Age: 79 • Syracuse, N.Y.

Gary Vaughn, 79, died June 23, 2015, in the Central Park Nursing Center in Syracuse, N.Y., after a courageous 10-year battle with Alzheimer's.

He was born in Utica, N.Y., on Dec. 19, 1935 the son of Gardner B. and Ada (Dolbear) Vaughn of Old Forge, N.Y. he attended Town of Webb schools as a multi-sport athlete with a particular prowess in alpine ski racing. Graduating in 1954, he went on to Norwich University in Northfield where he competed in all four Division 1 Winter Carnival events, especially strong in downhill. He graduated from Norwich as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army. Later, in 1983, Gary was inducted into Norwich University's Athletic Hall of Fame.

In January 1960, Gary was chosen first alternate for the U.S. Men's Olympic Ski Team competing in Squaw Valley, Calif. From 1962-1965 Gary returned to his roots as a golf pro for the Thendara Golf Club in Thendara, N.Y. As an 11-year old, he'd shagged balls and caddied at this very club. In 1964, he began his collegiate ski coaching at Dartmouth and later coached at Middlebury College where he met his future wife, Sue Bowdish, during Winter Carnival organizational meetings in 1967.

Gary and Sue married in July 1968 and moved to Jericho. Gary soon opened a local ski and bike shop, Jericho Sports, in their home, and Sue was hired to teach English and coach field hockey at the new Mt. Mansfield Union High School. They both shared a love of sports, the great outdoors, and their dogs. They cross-country skied the many area citizens' races, including The Madonna Vasa, played many hours of tennis on the local courts, hiked or skied the surrounding woods and mountains catching spectacular sunsets, multiple July firework displays from above Butler Lodge, and discovered delightful May snow slides for their frolicking pups in shaded mountain hollows. As time passed, the marriage faltered and eventually dissolved, but a strong friendship remained.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2004, Gary was still high functioning and pretty independent, but clearly in need of support as the disease progressed. Sue would like to thank community members and neighbors aware of Gary's challenges for their support and interventions. Gary was able to remain in familiar surroundings until 2010, enjoy community activities, engage in physically demanding projects like perennial bed restoration and neighborhood storm damage clean-ups, and share the regular companionship of Sue and his various furry 4-legged friends.

As Gary navigated the mine field of this disease, his instinctive dead reckoning skills freed him to ramble with his faithful companions, enjoy the outdoors, and exercise despite the progressive decline of his language skills and his fading memories. He taught those around him the importance of living in the moment and cherishing every smile and laughter.

Gary is survived by his sisters, Edythe V. Lefebvre (Tom) of Syracuse, N.Y., and Sally R. Vaughn of Old Forge, N.Y.; six nephews and one niece; three great-nieces and five great-nephews; and many cousins. He is also survived by his former wife, Sue (Bowdish) Vaughn of Jericho.

Gary was predeceased by his parents; and his good friend, Carol Mahoney of Underhill.

His wonderful smile, his enthusiasm, and energy will be missed by all who knew him.

Remembrances in Gary's name may be made to the , 441 West Kirkpatrick St., Syracuse, NY 13204.

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Aug. 16, 2015
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