Obituary for Thomas A. W. Vaughan
Thomas A W Vaughan (Tommy) was born on June 27, 1994 in San
Miguel, Chile and died August 16, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is survived by
his parents, Anita and Robrt (Bob) Vaughan, his
sister, Maria Stone, who lives in Sussex, England, Maria's child Samuel, his
Aunt Bernadette and Uncles Kevin and Arthur, his relatives in England, Linda,
Helen, Gail and their families, and many loving friends.
Tommy loved people and was interested in their lives. He was a genuine and loyal friend to so many people and kept up with old friends. His ready and contagious smile, his positivity and incredibly good sense of humor, his energy and outgoing nature made him a person who was great to be with.
Tommy loved to be outdoors. He didn't care what kind of weather it was. As a boy, "Snow Days" at school meant a chance to avoid his least favorite thing (school) and do his favorite thing (snowboarding, sledding).
Tommy enjoyed life and was full of life. As a boy he was in love with paintball starting with woods paintball which combined his love of the outdoors with his favorite sport. He excelled in paintball and travelled around the country in tournaments. He still has many friends from this period in his life.
Although Tommy was dyslexic and hated school in general, there was one school that he adored. He spent four years at Upland Hills School in Oxford, Michigan and loved the teachers and the outdoor activities that were offered there as part of the daily program. Even as the young adult that he was, he still held a real affection for the school.
Tommy developed a great love for theatre and drama at Upland Hills, under the direction of Karen Moore, one of the teachers, who had been an actress on the stage in New York. Notable were his performances in Sheherezade in 2008 and, particularly, Alice in 2009 where he played the caterpillar and a memorable Knave of Hearts. This gave him a love of drama in general, and he very much enjoyed the theatre in London.
He really delighted in a spoof version of the Thirty Nine Steps at the Criterion Theatre, and a revival of Shaw's Pygmalion at the Garrick and thought the scene at an upper class tea party where Eliza suddenly breaks into raw cockney with "Not bloody likely" uproariously funny.
Tommy liked going to the Oval, a cricket ground in England, with his Dad. He was particularly enthralled with a century by Kevin Pietersen for England in 2011. (Yes, his Mom, didn't know what this meant at first either.)
At the time of his death, Tommy was enrolled at Washtenaw Community College and hoped to get a degree in economics. He was fascinated with stocks and day trading, and had learned a tremendous amount on his own, attending U of M economic lectures with friends, reading the Wall Street Journal cover to cover every day and eagerly getting up each morning to check the markets for day trading.
As a high school student and a young adult, Tommy battled with drug addiction and it was an overdose of drugs that took his life, leaving his family and friends reeling in shock and grief. The best things his friends can do in his memory is this: Don't start taking drugs if you haven't started, end your use of drugs if you have started by going into treatment and getting help and lots of support, and encourage any other friends on drugs to do the same. Also, live your lives with happiness and appreciation the way Tommy would want you to do.
In the past few years, Tommy has been drawn to the Catholic Church, where he has found God. He sometimes attended Mass, and often just walked to St. Thomas Church in Ann Arbor, sitting in the empty church for a while to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the beautiful church, say a prayer and light a candle or two. Sometimes he would ask us, his parents, to go with him and do this together. In fact, the last day that we were with him, the Monday before his death, he suggested that the three of us do just that, and we did, together.
We are celebrating Tommy's life with a funeral Mass at St Thomas Church at 10:00 AM Wednesday, August 29, 2018. A luncheon has been prepared in Tommy’s honor. Please join us in the Parish Hall immediately following the service. Burial will be private and at a later time.
We would appreciate any contributions to Catholic Charities, the Huron River Watershed Council (Tommy loved the Huron River) or the Save the Children Fund.