William “Junior” Vaughn Jr. – Obituary

By  | November 7, 2017 | Filed under: Obituaries, Reynolds Funeral Home

A Celebration of Life for William “Junior” Vaughn Jr., 73, will be noon, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at Westside M.B. Church with Bishop John Gray officiating and inhumation to follow in Springhill Church Cemetery. The body will lie in repose one hour prior to funeral. The family will receive friends on Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at El Shaddai Church located at 271 Old Trinity Lane, Decatur. Public viewing will be today from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Reynolds Funeral Home.

William Jr, son of the late William and Vera Wiggins Vaughn, entered this world on April 7, 1944, in Morgan County, Alabama. Deacon Vaughn entered into eternal rest on Nov. 4, 2017, at Keller Landing in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

His formative years taught him the meaning of love and caring for others. After graduating from Lakeside High School in 1961 where he starred as a running back on the football team, Junior accepted an invitation to go on the road with the Indianapolis Clowns, the Negro League’s baseball version of the Harlem Globetrotters.

When speaking of a remembrance about his travels with the Indianapolis Clowns, he shared, “Our travel schedule was harsh; in one scheduled season, we’d travel all over the country. Sometimes we’d go into Canada and Mexico. The bus rides were fun, though. Our driver knew all the greats, like Ernie Banks, Satchel Paige, and Willie Mays. One day in Chicago he introduced me to Willie Mayes. I could hardly look up at him. He seemed about as shy as me, though. He was a quiet guy.”

A devastating ankle injury ended Jr.’s baseball career in 1967, sending him home to Decatur where he finished out his athletic career with the Decatur Rough Riders, the city’s semi-professional football team (66-2 record).

It was in those games and practice sessions where Jr. began to absorb the knowledge and learning tools he would parlay into his true calling as a coach and youth mentor. From 1981 through 2003 Jr. coached six local Pop Warner teams to championships and was named Pop Warner Coach of the Year five times. In 1994 he was named North Alabama Pop Warner Sportsman of the Year and received the City of Decatur Humanitarian Award in 2007.

Recently, a park monument was constructed in the honor of the Decatur Rough Riders. Jr. also mentored, encouraged, guided, and molded countless young men during his work with the Fatherhood Program.

One of Jr.’s most treasured highlights was being inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame on June 8, 2013.

During his community youth coaching, Jr. also worked as a chemical operator at Amoco/BP Chemicals and retired after 30 years of service.

William H. Vaughn Jr. gave his life to God at an early age and was a dedicated and committed member and Deacon of El Shaddai Church Ministries, formerly known as Springhill Missionary Baptist Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Aveian Michelle Vaughn Pickett; and son, Dennis Lee Brown Jr.

His survivors include his loving and devoted wife of 27 years, Shirley Vaughn, of Trinity; two sons, Michael (Chuntelle) Vaughn, of Decatur, Alabama and Brian Morris, of Florence, Alabama; three daughters, Monica Ann (Marcus) Sizemore, of Pulaski, Tennessee, Lavette Fennell, of Decatur, Alabama, and Tonya (Melvin) Keebler, of Huntsville, Alabama; grandchildren, Ronnie (Jerrica), Michael (Gabby), Dennis, Shea’Myra, Charity, Jada and Meyah; two great-grandchildren, Chandler and MaKenzie; siblings, Josie Madden and John Larry Vaughn; uncle, Charles A. Wiggins Sr.; special friends, the Decatur Rough Riders; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

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