Albion Interactive History / People / Jack Vaughn

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Jack Hood Vaughn

Jack Vaughn is most well known for being the second director of the Peace Corps,beginning in 1966. In addition, he was U.S. Ambassador to Panama and Columbia, andthe president of Planned Parenthood for many years.

Although no one from Albion has become President of the United States (yet), there is one person from Albion who has known them and other leaders in Washington, D.C: Jack Hood Vaughn. If the name Vaughn sounds vaguely familiar, it should. For many years the Vaughn & Ragsdale Mens War Clothing Store was located at 200 S. Superior St., where the Subway Sandwich Shop is now located. Vaughn’s Womens Store operated at 302 S. Superior St. for many years, beginning in 1939. The Vaughn’s operated a chain of clothing stores in Michigan and Montana. The family came to Albion in 1931.

Jack Hood Vaughn was born in Columbus, Montana in 1920, the son of Elijah H. (L.H. for short) and Blair (Cox) Vaughn. He attended the Albion Public Schools and graduated from Albion High School in 1939. While as a youth, Jack became interested in the sport of boxing, since his first name was the same as the famous boxer Jack Dempsey. Jack would spar with area boxers on the third floor of his father’s building where a makeshift gymnasium was located. My Pasick/Passic uncles would box there (whom Jack knew well), and boxing was quite a sport at the time. “Jack Torrey was my boxing rival here in Albion,” Vaughn quipped to me when I interviewed him several months ago. Jack won the Golden Gloves state championship, and later served as the head boxing coach at the University of Michigan.

Internationally, Jack is most well known for being the second director of the Peace Corps, beginning in 1966. In addition, he was U.S. Ambassador to Panama and Columbia, and the president of Planned Parenthood for many years. Other credits include director of the foreign language programs of Sesame Street, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Development Institute, U.S. Coordinator of the Alliance for Progress, and President of the Pierce Energy Corporation. He currently is chairman of ECOTRUST in Portland, Oregon.

Jack currently lives in Tucson, Arizona and is definitely not retired, but is active as ever after a lifetime of exemplary public service. His calling card states, “Writer, consultant, environmentalist, and More things than you can shake a stick at.” I had the honor of meeting him and his lovely wife several months ago as they came to Albion to see if the City of Albion would repair the Riverside Abbey Mausoleum where Jack’s parents and many others are interred.

Unfortunately, no funds have been allotted for its repair, and so the deterioration continues. The cost for the city however would be great if the remains had to be reinterred should the structure collapse. I wonder which will occur first: repair or collapse? The original private owners of the Mausoleum are now deceased and interred within, and there is no repair fund which remains.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of a living legend from Albion, Jack Hood Vaughn. I wonder if something here in Albion could be named in his honor for all the work he has done for our country? There ought to be.

Source: Frank Passic. Morning Star, August 3, 1997, pg. 21

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