Jeanne Wilson Vaughan

Lafayette, Indiana

Age 92


April 18, 2018
Lafayette, Indiana


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Jeanne Wilson Vaughan

Lafayette - Jeanne Wilson Vaughan, 92, passed away Wednesday, April 18, 2018 in Lafayette, IN. Born and raised in Chicago, IL. Jeanne is preceded in death by her parents Thomas and Jeannette Wilson, sister Lillian Creno, husband, Jack N Vaughan and son, Thomas W Vaughan.

Jeanne graduated from Morgan Park High School. During that time, she represented the Lake Shore Club in Water Ballet and swimming. She and her sister, Lillian, were National Duo Water Ballet Champions two years in a row.

Jeanne attended Northwestern University for one year, where she became a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity. She was then recruited to Purdue University and their Swim Team Coach, Richard Papenguth. Jeanne earned her Bachelor of Science Degree and holds the honor of first female swimmer at Purdue.

During Jeanne's time at Purdue, she held 10 American Records and was elected to the All-American Swim Team four years in a row, in all breaststroke events and medley relays. She went on to win the United States Olympic trials in Detroit, MI and then on to represent the United States in the 1948 Olympics in London, England.

Jeanne was voted "Best Looking Athlete" in the 1948 Olympics. She was also elected the Purdue Year Book (Debris) Queen. The Associate Press announced, "Beautiful Mermaid Marries" when she married Lafayette native, Jack N. Vaughan, whom she met at the Lafayette Country Club where she was a lifeguard during college. As a model, she appeared in Life Magazine, Colliers, Esquire, Photography, and others. Jeanne was voted Mrs. Indiana in 1953.

In the 1960's, Jean started, organized, and coached 7th and 8th grade girls at St. Mary's School to play volleyball. She organized an all school city volleyball tournament. St Mary's 7th and 8th grade team won that city tournament three years in a row. She even made time to become a Boy Scout Leader and Brownie Leader.

In 1972, with the help of Mary Ellen Crose, they started the Central Catholic Woman's Swim Team. Since 1972, Jeanne annually sponsored the Most Valuable Swimmer Award at Central Catholic. For over 50 years, she has also annually sponsored the Richard Papenguth Award for the Most Outstanding Swimmer on the Lafayette Country Club Swim Team.

In 1998, Jeanne was elected into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame. She received her 65-year pin from Kappa Kappa Gamma and served on the Purdue Kappa Kappa Gamma House Board. Jeanne was a member of St. Mary's Cathedral, Delta Theta Tau, and the Lafayette Country Club.

Jeanne enjoyed boating, waterskiing, and entertaining on Lake Freeman. She played golf, and was on a bowling league, even bowling a perfect game. Her greatest enjoyment came from watching her children, grandchildren, and their friends play sports.

She is survived by three children, Jack W., Charleston WV, Vint W., and Jeanne V. Walker, Gainesville, GA. Grandchildren, Jack and Tracey Vaughan, Tom and Nicholas Vaughan, Jeanne Walker Rains and Steve Walker. Two great grandchildren, James and Jeanne Rains.

Paul Bearers are, grandchildren, Thomas and Nick Vaughan, Jack Vaughan, Steve Walker. Son in law, James Rains, nephew, Grant Creno, great nephew, Charles Vaughan and James Korty.

In lieu of flowers, family requests memorial contributions to Matthew 25 Share and Care Soup Kitchen, St. Ann's Church and Shrine, 612 Wabash Avenue, Lafayette, IN 47905.

Visitation will be from 9:30 am until the time of the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am on Saturday at St. Mary Cathedral, 1207 Columbia Street, Lafayette. Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery. You may sign the guest book and leave memories at

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I met Jeanne when she became a hairdressing client of mine in the mid-1980's. Her daughter introduced us and brought her to see me on Jeanne's visits to Georgia. My impression was that she was a lovely classy lady who cherished her family and she made a wonderful client. We spent a few hours together on each visit so eventually I learned of Jeanne's remarkable life in the water and her sharp dry wit on land.
I am saddened to find she has passed two years late.
I hope her extended...

Sending best wishes to all of the Vaughan family!
As one of those blessed enough to have grown up in the Highland Park neighborhood, I smile to think of many joyful childhood memories, and Mrs. Vaughan was a "larger than life"character in them. Soda bottle fridge, tandem bicycle, play house, kick soccer in the street, beautiful pictures of Mrs. Vaughan in Olympic and Mrs. Indiana attire. Always a beautiful, gracious presence. May you all be blessed with many shared joyful...

Dear Family ,So sad to read of your mother's passing.
I loved this sweet lady. She was so kind and caring

Our prayers go out for your family.
What a wonderful lady.

I was telling Suzy how gracious your mom was to me whenever I'd visit from Texas. She made sure I was included with all the cousins when we came for Kelly's wedding. She was such a classy and lovely woman. I loved both your mom & dad. Wish I could have seen them and y'all more over the years! Love you and praying you feels God's comfort.

So sorry to hear about the passing of this wonderful lady. Jeane was such a good friend to my mother and our family. Many great memories on Central Street focused around Purdue football games and the Vaughn family. My prayers are with the family as you deal with your loss.

So sorry for this terrible loss to your family! What a beautiful lady and wonderful soul!
May the anguish of your loss be replaced with a peaceful acceptance and precious warm memories as soon as is humanly possible! Terry Maddox

One of the nicest and the classiest lady I have ever met, She will truly be missed by everyone that knew her. Jack and Jeanne are together again I am sure. Two of the finest people I have ever met.

So sorry about your loss. Your mom and your dad had a huge influence in my life. I spent a lot of days hanging out at the house, because there was always something going on. Together we can all admit, what a ride we had.