As a young man growing up in a modest Philadelphia family, Frank Edward Vaughn knew he had to rely on his own abilities to get ahead.
He muscled his way into a wrestling scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania and was captain of the team while he studied business at the Wharton School.
That experience along with his hard work and tenacious drive launched a career that would take him to the pinnacle of the nation’s leading businesses and led him to serve as a role model for generations of industry leaders.
Frank E. Vaughn of Aurora, Ohio, died October 10, 2020, at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio at age 91. He leaves a legacy of business success, a record of philanthropy and, above all, an unwavering love of his children and grandchildren.
As his family mourns, they recall a devoted father and grandfather -- a man who took to the role of single dad long before the term became popular when his wife died, leaving him to raise three young daughters.
They remember a man who encouraged his daughters and later his grandchildren to play sports and regularly attended their practices and games no matter how busy his schedule.
They mourn a man so devoted to his family that he rented a house in Wild Dunes, South Carolina, for a couple of weeks every summer for decades so that the generations could spend precious time together.
And they mourn a gentleman and a scholar who had a second career after his retirement dedicated to philanthropy and sharing his business expertise with younger generations as a university professor.
Frank Edward Vaughn was born in Philadelphia on June 20, 1929 to Frank and Sarah Heller Vaughn.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he received his MBA from Indiana University and did additional post graduate studies at Harvard University.
Frank was in Madison, Wisconsin taking a training program for his first job with Oscar Mayer and Company when he glanced across a dining room at the University of Wisconsin and saw a young coed, Nancy Boebel.
The couple married in Platteville, Wisconsin on August 1, 1953.
They lived briefly in the New York City borough of Queens, where the first of their three daughters was born.
The Vaughns moved to Louisville, Kentucky where Frank spent 11 years at The General Electric Company at Appliance Park in the Public Employee Relations area.
Frank continued to achieve business success, landing his next position with The Hoover Company in Canton in 1967.
Tragedy struck the Vaughns in 1975 when Nancy died of cancer, leaving a grief-stricken husband and three young daughters, Susan, Elizabeth “Betsy” and Jennifer.
Frank was left to raise the girls on his own. He more than rose to the challenge, his daughters recalled. He cheered them on at all of their games and was such an involved parent that he ran for a seat on the school board, winning three terms including one as president.
Even while he was raising his children on his own, he continued to advance in the business world.
Frank spent 24 years at The Hoover Group, eventually overseeing all Hoover operations throughout the world as Executive Vice President of Hoover's parent company, The Maytag Company.
During his career at Hoover, Frank served as a member of the Board of Hoover PLC in London, England and as board member of seven international subsidiaries.
He attended charity events on behalf of the company in London and rubbed shoulders with the Royal family at the Ascot Racecourse. For years, Frank insisted that Princess Di winked at him.
In 1992 after nearly a quarter century, Frank retired as President of The Hoover Group.
He was always generous with his time and worked tirelessly to support civic causes and institutions in Canton, including the American Cancer Society, the United Negro College Fund and the United Way. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canton Art Institute for seven years and a board member of Aultman Hospital for a dozen years, including a stint as treasurer.
After retirement he began a new and fulfilling chapter of his life in academia. Frank taught international business for a year at Walsh University in Canton and spent six years at the Graduate School of Business at Kent State University.
While at Kent State, he served as Goodyear Executive Professor and for two years as Dean of the Ohio School of International Business — a joint venture between Kent State, Akron University, Cleveland State University and Youngstown State University.
He took great pleasure in his time teaching and made a lasting impact on countless students.
And Frank never lost his enjoyment of wrestling. Every year until just recently he and his brother, Ron, made a weekend pilgrimage to the annual Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship.
Frank had a wide circle of friends, including several named Frank, a running joke between him and Frank Provo and Frank Piraino. Frank Vaughn cherished his long friendship with Jean Meacham of Wooster, Ohio, who survives him.
He will be forever missed by his family, including his three daughters, Susan Weir, her husband William R. "Bill" and their two sons, Sam and August "Gus" of Shaker Heights, Ohio; Elizabeth "Betsy" Potiker, her husband Michael J. and their three children, Phoebe, Franklin and Lillian of Shaker Heights and Jennifer Gast and her husband Jonathan P. and their three children, Parker, Evan and Wyatt of Moorpark, California.
Frank is also survived by his brothers, Ronald of West Chester, Pennsylvania and Bruce of Pearland, Texas.
Arrangements are being handled by the Brown-Forward Funeral Home, 17022 Chagrin Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120
The Vaughn family asks that memorial contributions be made to Kent State University Foundation, Frank Vaughn Memorial, for online donations. A check can be sent to PO Box 5190, Kent, Ohio 44242-0001 with Frank Vaughn Memorial in the memo line.
A private family graveside service will be publicly streamed at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 24 at https://Brown-forward.com/obituary/Frank-Vaughn
The Kent State University Foundation
PO Box 5190, Kent OH 44242-0001