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Obituary for James Ray Vaughan

James Ray Vaughan, of Northfield, MN, passed away with his family by his side, Friday, August 2, 2019. He was 83 years old. Jim was born the son of Truman and Stella (Dowdy) Vaughan on February 22, 1936, in Detroit, MI. He attended Cass Tech High School where he met Joyce, his future wife, in the 10th grade. Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 1955. After basic training, he was stationed at Kessler AFB in Biloxi, MS, where he taught electronic counter measures. He served his country until November of 1958 when he received his […]

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James Ray Vaughan, of Northfield, MN, passed away with his family by his side, Friday, August 2, 2019. He was 83 years old.
Jim was born the son of Truman and Stella (Dowdy) Vaughan on February 22, 1936, in Detroit, MI. He attended Cass Tech High School where he met Joyce, his future wife, in the 10th grade. Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 1955. After basic training, he was stationed at Kessler AFB in Biloxi, MS, where he taught electronic counter measures. He served his country until November of 1958 when he received his honorable discharge as an Airman First Class.
He was united in marriage to Joyce Neis on February 9, 1957, in Rochester, MI. The young enlisted couple began their married life in a one-bedroom apartment above a garage for $50 a month. Their first child, Gregory, was born in Biloxi, MS. After discharge from the service, the family moved to Detroit, MI, where they had their second child, Gayle. It was in Rochester, MN, that their third child, Douglas, was born.
Jim began his civilian career with IBM at the dawn of the computer age. In order to obtain a position in their field service division, Jim had to take a test. He scored the highest on record in IBM’s history, taking the least amount of time to do so. His intelligence and leadership prowess had Jim moving quickly up through the ranks. Throughout his career, Jim was often hired to either start up a service division or turn a losing business around to a very profitable one. He traveled all over the world for many years and worked at several fortune 500 companies, finally retiring from Bell South Advanced Systems as Vice President Services. He moved his family 20 times in his career, eventually settling in Northfield, MN, Waterford Township.
Jim was a brilliant man and had many hobbies. At the age of 13, he became a ham radio operator, with the call sign W8KBD. He constructed and flew radio-controlled airplanes. In the early 1970s, he built his own satellite dish using a coffee can and a metal disc sled, designing his own circuit board, and soon they had satellite television. Jim obtained his pilot license and flew all over the country in his Bonanza 36 airplane. He even took acrobatic lessons. Jim was always tinkering around—especially in his machine shop. He also enjoyed hunting and once took a photographic safari to Africa. Jim was also a member of the American Legion.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joyce of Northfield and three children, Gregory (Karen) of Prior Lake, Gayle (Carl) Daniel, of Dallas, TX, and Douglas of Northfield. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Jennifer Meyer, Katie (Brad) Short, Kelly (Andrew) Viereck, Cole Vaughan and Paul (Christina) Daniel, and four great-grandchildren, Jackson, Jared, Fiona and Phoebe. He was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters Wanda Carrico and Leila Hopper.
Graveside services will be held at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan at a later date. Arrangements by Bierman Funeral Home and Crematory. biermanfuneralhome.com.

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