Tommy L. Vaughn, age 71, of Martin, South Dakota, formerly of Winner, died on Saturday, July 22, 2023 at the Bennett County Healthcare Center in Martin.
Tommy Lewis Vaughn was born May 3, 1952, in Valentine, Neb., to Frank and Beverly (May) Vaughn. Tom attended grade school in Sidney, NE while his father worked as a ranch hand and later moved back home to South Dakota, graduating from Bennett County High School in Martin. After high school Tom attended college in Chadron, Neb., and again returned home to start working at Little Wound School in Kyle, SD. Tom loved the education world so much he continued on to Rockyford School District where he spent most of his career of over 30 years being a teachers aid in special education, a bus monitor and a librarian assistant. One of his favorite things was to read the Hank the Cowdog series which was the only books he would ever read to the kids. The kids loved listening to Tom because he would always laugh so hard reading the adventures of a silly cow dog it would turn into a rage of laughter from the whole group.
Tom had a love of dogs from a very young age. It was his first dog Brownie that actually taught him to walk. That bond instilled a life-long love for a 4 legged best friend and also lit the flame for his love of hounds and coyote hunting. Tom lived to load up a set of coyote hounds in the box of his pickup, gather a family member or friend and go out for hours on the hunt. It didn’t matter if he missed Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas with the family, coyote hunting with his dogs was always top of the priority list. The thrill of the chase brought MANY stories, laughs, jokes and wondering how far the truth was stretched.
Tom also had a love of horses and raised quality quarter horses. He had an eye for conformation and good disposition. Tom stood a couple of studs horses and to this day there are still horses with his bloodlines being used on area ranches and in local arenas. He was always proud to produce a good mount for someone.
When Tom is mentioned to family members and friends it’s always said he was a practical jokester. He loved teasing and telling stories, he loved laughing and you could always pick his giggling out of a crowd. The stories were never too far fetched with Tom around.
Tom’s last years were spent in the Winner nursing home. While there he was blessed to have met his special friend Carla. Carla would sit with Tom for hours every day keeping him company, keeping him in touch with the family and making sure everything for Tom was comfortable and in order. She was such a gift to him and we are forever thankful for her friendship to Tom.
Survivors include his sister Twila Goodman and brother Dave Nelson. Nephews Rob and Shawn Goodman, JR and Travis Nelson and niece TR Nelson and a host of other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Bev Vaughn, brother Michael “Butch” Vaughn, uncles Bud and Dan May, aunts Zona and Ramona May, and Marnie White Wolf; cousins Jerry, Tammy and Pam May, nephew Chad Nelson and special friend Carla Lebert.
Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Martin.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, July 31, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Martin, with Father Tyler Dennis officiating.
Interment will be at the Martin Community Cemetery.
Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.