MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Obituaries

October 12, 2009

Leo Vaughn, Sr.

1920 - 2009

Mr. Leo Vaughn, Sr., after 88 years, dozed from life to everlasting from his home in Muskogee. He was born in Muskogee on December 25, 1920, the son of Oliver and Alee Vaughn. He attended school in Muskogee, graduating from Historic Manual Training High School, where he was nicknamed “Smokey” because of his speed as a running back on the Bulldog Football team.

He went on to Xavier University in New Orleans on a football scholarship, joining his best friend, Leonard Robbins. During his first year, he was a starting running back. His swiftness on the gridiron was cut short after one year after being called into service in the United States Army, where he served his country honorably from 1942 to 1946. He was a WWII Veteran, serving in Italy with the Infantry Division as a Military Police Officer during the same time as War Hero/Actor Audie Murphy was serving in the 3rd Infantry Division.

After his military service, Mr. Vaughn owned and operated several business, which he began in 1954 with $275.00. He operated a pool hall, Sundry store, Restaurant, Tavern, Retail Liquor Store and Car Wash. In 1974, he built a new Liquor Store and Club LaTreese on North Main Street and remained in business there from 1974 until his retirement. When it was time to close the club each night, his favorite saying was “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”

Mr. Vaughn was thankful to two people “who made it happen” for him. The late Mr. Ora Lamb, President of First National Bank and Mr. John Hannah, Chairman of the Board, Citizens Bank. For 56 years, he was never refused a loan and held one of the two oldest retail liquor licenses in Eastern Oklahoma.

In his earlier years, he was a music promoter as part of the “Chittlin Circuit” with four other friends who called themselves the “Progressive Gents.” They promoted such entertainers as; Bobby Blue Bland, Johnny Taylor, Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Diana Ross, B. B. King, James Brown and Jackie Wilson. Mr. Vaughn lived a good life and a full life. His sister, Jewel stated in summation of his life, “he worked and made a difference in the community.” Individuals who worked for him and wanted to go to college, he made it possible for them to pursue their dreams and whenever they came home for the summer, they knew they always had a job.

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