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Ex-councilman Vaughn dies at 66

November 17, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- When Larry Vaughn realized he wasn't going to live much longer, he returned to Hagerstown, the city where he battled, held office and made lasting connections.

Vaughn, a two-term Hagerstown city councilman and many-time candidate, died over the weekend. He was 66.

His brother, Wayne Vaughn, said Monday that the cause of Larry Vaughn's death still hadn't been established, but he'd been ill in recent years.

Penny Miner of Hagerstown, a friend who looked after Vaughn as he grew ill, said he had breathing problems and a heart condition.

For years, Vaughn watched over and fought for Hagerstown's West End.

His sister, Jean Shaff of Hilton Head Island, S.C., said neighbors came to rely on him and ask for his help even after he left office.

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Vaughn's advocacy often was punctuated with conflict.

He fought against speeders and street criminals. He threatened to sue the city for not taking action about the Municipal Electric Light Plant.

His fast to protest the size of city Christmas trees lasted 23 hours.

"You never had a doubt where Larry stood," Shaff said. "You always knew."

Those closest to him said he had a kind, considerate side, too.

He set up various bus trips for senior citizens, Wayne Vaughn said.

He helped families get food during the holidays, Miner said.

When his mother couldn't live on her own anymore, Vaughn took her in.

"He really assumed major responsibility," Shaff said. "He saw that she got excellent care."

"You'd call him and he'd help you," said Miner, who met Vaughn about 26 years ago when he was campaigning and grew to be his close friend and, later, a caregiver.

Vaughn, a lifelong Democrat, served on the city council from 1973 to 1981. His name was on the ballot in many subsequent city elections, trying once to become mayor.

He also ran unsuccessfully for other offices, including county commissioner.

In 2003, Vaughn announced he was moving to Hilton Head Island, S.C., out of frustration with local government and crime.

He stayed a few years, then moved back to Hagerstown, living at the Elizabeth Court complex.

He went back to South Carolina for a few more years, then returned to Elizabeth Court again.

"If he was going to die," Shaff said, "he wanted it to be back in Hagerstown."

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