Barbara Smith Vaughn
Mar 23, 1943 - Jul 14, 2021
Barbara Smith Vaughn of Davis died peacefully on July 14, 2021, with her family by her side. She was the only child of Thomas Francis Feely, an Irish immigrant, and Jessie Shirley Hawkes, who immigrated from Canada. She was predeceased by her parents, her stepfather Robert Leonard of Maine, and her husbands Byron Anthony (Tony) Smith (1994) and Reese Barton (Bart) Vaughn (2016).
Barbara was born and grew up in Portland, Maine, graduating from Portland's Deering High School and Chandler College in Boston. Upon graduation from college, she took a life-changing trip to San Francisco and accepted a position in human resources at the home office of Fireman's Fund Insurance. She met her husband Tony and they moved to Sacramento where she worked in human resources for Kaiser Hospital. She was the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Yolo County for many years and retired as an advisor to International Students and Scholars at the University of California at Davis. Except for a two-year period in Virginia while Tony had an assignment with the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., Barbara lived in the same family home in Davis for fifty years before relocating to Santa Rosa to be near family. In 2019, she and her husband Bob returned to Davis. She enjoyed spending the last 18 summers at her summer home in Wells, Maine.
Barbara loved planning trips and traveled to all fifty states and every continent except Antarctica. Ireland was the site of many visits with her numerous Irish as well as Canadian cousins. She counted paragliding in Switzerland, ziplining in Costa Rica, balloon riding in the Napa Valley, parasailing in Mexico, white water rafting, and, on her 75th birthday, skydiving in Sonoma County, among the many highlights of her life.
In addition to traveling, Barbara created many needlepoint projects, enjoyed golf, yoga, gardening, and playing bocce ball in their garden court home in Davis. She was in the same book group for over forty years. She was also actively involved over the years with numerous charitable organizations, serving as President of several, devoting her time to the K-12 PTA of her children's schools, University Farm Circle and its scholarship program for UC Davis students, Enchanted Hills (San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind), Sacramento Symphony League, Friends of Mondavi at UC Davis, Davis League of Women Voters, Davis Flower Arrangers and P.E.O., a philanthropic organization for the education of women of Santa Rosa and Davis.
Barbara loved spending time with her twelve grandchildren, kept in contact with many close friends living all over the United States and Europe from all periods of her life, and enjoyed making new friends wherever she went. A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, she cherished her time spent with family and established many thoughtful traditions.
There is a poem of unknown origin that sums up her wonderful life. It is so appropriate to Barbara that it must be Irish!
A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says,
"Grieve not for me.
Remember the best times,
the laughter, the song.
The good life I lived
while I was strong.
Continue my heritage,
I'm counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely
the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease,
my soul is at rest.
how I truly was blessed.
no matter how small.
Go on with your life,
don't worry about falls.
I miss you all dearly,
so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes
we're together again."
Barbara is survived by her loving husband Robert (Bob) Testa of Davis; son Byron Smith (Gabby) of San Anselmo; daughter Betsy Mischke (Bryan) of Santa Rosa; stepsons Michael Vaughn of Woodland; Nick Vaughn (Kaari) of Bend, Oregon; Michael Testa (Beth) of Sacramento; and stepdaughter Jennifer Testa White of Austin, Texas. "Baba" (as she was called by her grandchildren) enjoyed spending time with Lulu and Woodworth (Woody) Smith; Isak (Ike) and Arlo Mischke; Blake and Nick Vaughn; Katharine and Caroline Vaughn; Jessica and Ashley White; and Grace and Henry Testa.
She is also survived by her godchildren Michael Sawyer of South Carolina, Robert Englehardt of Maine, and Ann Hayden Peridas of Lafayette, California; sister-in-law Peggy Smith Prescott (Thomas) and nephew Tony Prescott of Napa; brothers-in-law Chuck Vaughn (Barbara) and John Vaughn (Marla); sisters-in-law Molly Vaughn Hunter (Russ), Ginny Vaughn (Robert), and Sandra Testa Graham; and many cousins in Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S.
Private burial service will be in Davis, California. A funeral mass will be held at St. James Catholic Church at 2:00 PM, Monday, July 26, followed by a celebration of her life with family and friends at the El Macero Country Club in Davis. Masks are required inside the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Barbara Smith Vaughn to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research at www.lustgarten.org
, the Palliative Care Department at the University of California at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento , or the UC Davis Hospice Program in Sacramento.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Jul. 16 to Jul. 18, 2021.