Vergil Vester Vaughn, 87, of Decatur, Alabama, passed away on January 14, 2021 in Decatur, AL. Vergil was born to Jack Penn and Lillie Mae Vaughn on October 2, 1933 in Wahalak, Mississippi. He attended Pickens County High School in Reform, AL where he was a member of the 1951 Class A State Champions Football Team, and graduated from Ponta High School near Meridian, MS in 1952. After graduating from high school, he honorably served in the United States Navy during the Korean War as an Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AT1). While in the Navy, he was assigned to several different aircraft carriers with the mission of detecting enemy submarines which were navigating off the eastern United States coastline. He was an expert in his field awarding him with accelerated promotions.
After his service in the Navy, he earned a Bachelor of Arts with High Honor in Physics from Auburn University in 1961 - finishing 3rd in his class. He continued studies in physics for many years, earning a Master of Science in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1968 and accumulating enough credits to have the equivalency of a doctorate degree in physics. His enthusiasm for the mathematical sciences continued through teaching physics and mathematics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and local community colleges.
In his professional career, Vergil worked on miscellaneous projects concerned with the success of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, experimental passive techniques with the goal of detecting whether incoming enemy missiles were armed with nuclear warheads, experiments with the original laser purchased by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and constructed the first holograms at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was also an expert at radar data analysis to actively detect objects in space.
Vergil was passionate about nature, photography, and athletics. Celebrating these passions in his life he enjoyed beekeeping, owned and operated Vaughn Apiaries, and was involved with the Madison County Beekeepers Association for many years. Vergil worked with the Madison County Extension to provide education about the importance of honeybees in agriculture and participating in the county fair exhibits - even performing the “bee beard”. Vergil also shared his passion for baseball, football, and soccer by coaching the community youth at Stoner Field and the Northwest YMCA in northwest Huntsville, AL.
Vergil is survived by his children, Casey Vaughn, Dana E. Vaughn of Savannah, GA, Max Vaughn (Jackie) of Waxhaw, NC, Ruby Farris (GySgt Kent) of Madison, AL, Virgil J. H. Vaughn (Jennifer) of Morristown, TN; Ruby Virginia (Thaxton) Vaughn of Madison, AL is the mother of his children. His grandchildren include Chelsea McWhorter (Matthew), Sarah Tillman (James), Hannah Strickland (Mitch), Seaman Zachary Vaughn, Chris Vaughn, Nick Vaughn, Toni Cassidy (Michael) of Toney, AL, SFC Dennis Farris (Megan Stevens) of Rose Barracks, Germany, Gabriel Vaughn, Jonathan Vaughn, and Abigail Vaughn. His great-grandchildren include Rachel and Rebekah McWhorter, Jaden and Jace Tillman, Aiden and Isley Cassidy, Kayleigh Loyd, Bradley, Wesley, Cyrus, Devlin, Eli, and Liberty Farris; brothers, Otis Vaughn (Betty) of Madison, AL and Warren Curtis Vaughn of WA; numerous nieces and nephews.
Vergil is preceded in death by his parents, Jack Penn and Lillie Mae Vaughn; sister Earlene Clark (Johnny); brothers, Dennis Vaughn and Lee (Mattie) Vaughn; granddaughter, PFC Amanda Vaughn.
Relatives and friends are invited to join the family at Twin Cemetery in Wahalak, Mississippi for a graveside service on January 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm. Carpooling from Wahalak Baptist Church to the gravesite is recommended due to limited parking at the gravesite.
With gratitude and appreciation to our front-line heroes, in lieu of flowers please contribute to Front-line Hero Appreciation Fund in Memory of Vergil Vaughn at River City Center 1350 14th Ave SE Decatur, AL 35601
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vergil Vester Vaughn, please visit our floral store.