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Obit: Vaughn Ward 7 Dec 2001

Jeri 07 Dec 01 - 02:58 PM
catspaw49 07 Dec 01 - 03:07 PM
KathWestra 07 Dec 01 - 05:25 PM
Hollowfox 07 Dec 01 - 07:03 PM
DonMeixner 07 Dec 01 - 07:22 PM
katlaughing 07 Dec 01 - 08:30 PM
Sandy Paton 07 Dec 01 - 08:53 PM
karen k 07 Dec 01 - 09:45 PM
RoyH (Burl) 08 Dec 01 - 09:23 AM
wysiwyg 08 Dec 01 - 11:51 AM
Art Thieme 08 Dec 01 - 12:33 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 08 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM
Hollowfox 09 Dec 01 - 01:59 PM
Sandy Paton 10 Dec 01 - 12:04 AM
kendall 10 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM
DeanC 10 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,georgeward 15 Dec 01 - 02:42 AM
Sandy Paton 15 Dec 01 - 11:37 AM
georgeward 15 Dec 01 - 08:52 PM
Jeri 15 Dec 01 - 09:16 PM
lamarca 15 Dec 01 - 11:25 PM
Sandy Paton 16 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM
Jeri 16 Dec 01 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Terri 16 Dec 01 - 08:27 PM
Jeri 16 Dec 01 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,Ray Wall 05 Feb 12 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,999 05 Feb 12 - 06:14 PM
RoyH (Burl) 06 Feb 12 - 06:46 AM
Waddon Pete 06 Feb 12 - 07:46 AM
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Subject: Vaughn Ward
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 02:58 PM

I don't know if I should be the one starting this thread. I just received word that Vaughn passed this morning from cancer. Amidst the tears, I consider how she so profoundly affected my life.

I met Vaughn when she taught at Niskayuna High School in NY state. I was in her Folk Culture and Oral Tradion class, and we, with her guidance, put on the very first Niskayuna Folk Festival. Vaughn brought the music to me and many others. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't play, I wouldn't sing, I wouldn't have the beloved friends I do, and I wouldn't be here at Mudcat talking to you. Other than my parents, she had more of an effect on my life than any one person. I'm one small part of Vaughn's legacy. She planted the seeds of love for the stories and songs of tradition in my heart 29 years ago, and they will continue to grow as long as I live.

All my love to husband George (georgeward) - my dear friend - and to sons Peter and Than.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 03:07 PM

Oh good lord Jeri....I'm so sorry. I wish I had the experiences with her that you did, but I have enjoyed she and George here at the 'Cat and remember not so long ago being thrilled that Vaughn enjoyed a tale of Cletus and Paw.

George and family have my most sincere and finest thoughts along with my deepest sympathy. Again the 'Cat is strange as I'm sitting here crying about someone I never met and yet someone who feels so close.

Pat


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: KathWestra
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 05:25 PM

Thank you Jeri. There is no one more appropriate to start this thread than you. We all owe so much to our musical mentors -- and Vaughn was that to you and so many other people.

I first met Vaughn -- and George -- at the Fox Hollow Folk Festival in the early 70s. When I lived in Latham, NY, in 1974 and 1975, I got to know them better, particularly Vaughn, who was a new mom to Peter, and occasionally asked me to babysit with him while she worked. Her joy at being a mother and her obvious love of her new son made almost as big an impression on me as her joy in sharing music.

I met my husband-to-be, Joe Hickerson, at the Niskayuna festival, where Vaughn had assigned me as a volunteer to sell performers' records (those vinyl things with holes in the middle). Two special memories of Joe are entwined for me with special memories of Vaughn and George. Both involve a concert that Joe gave at the Rafters coffeehouse in Albany. During the singaround, Vaughn sang "The Gallowa' Hills" with George -- again with that wonderful joy, head thrown back, and smiling at the sheer pleasure of the song as it came alive. It made a big impression. Then, during his concert set, Joe sang Bill Staines' "I Can Feel the Sweet Winds Blowing." Vaughn and George were there with baby Peter. When Joe sang the verse that begins "I can hear the children singing," Peter sang along, the most melodic sound I've ever heard from a baby.

Over the years, Vaughn has shared so much -- as a musician, as a loving mother to her kids (and, more recently, a doting grandma), as a faithful and caring friend to her friends, and as a wise observer of the crazy business of life and love and family. Like Jeri, I will miss her warming presence in my world. Love to George, Than & Pete. Kathy


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Hollowfox
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 07:03 PM

Sob.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: DonMeixner
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 07:22 PM

I once spoke at length with Vaughn about setting up at festival at Auburn Community College in the early 70's. She gave me valuable advice and called me back to give me some suggestions and addresses she had missed the first time. We spoke longer on her nickle than on mine because she so much to share and didn't want to forget it the second time. I took the notes back to the committee and we used many of her ideas. 29 years later the festival that she advised on is still going.

Sad to hear she is gone. Deepest regrets to George and the family.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 08:30 PM

So sorry for your loss, Georgeward and family and you, Jeri and Kath, as well as you others who were touched by someone who sounds like an incredible person. It is always sad to see such passing.

My deepest sympathies,

kat


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 08:53 PM

Caroline and I met Vaughn and George while we were still living in Vermont. This was even before they went to study in the museum program at Cooperstown and before Vaughn began teaching at Niskayuna. The Wards have been our cherished friends for well over thirty-five years. Vaughn's highly creative work to help preserve and encourage the folk traditions of upper New York State should serve as a model for other folklorists in the years to come.

We will miss her terribly, as will all of those who knew and loved her. Our thoughts and our prayers are with George tonight.

Sandy and Caroline


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: karen k
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 09:45 PM

My heart goes out to you George, Peter and Than. I, too, met George and Vaughn way back in the 70's, actually I think it was Fox Hollow in the late 60's. But my most cherished memory is not about Vaughn herself but about the Niskyuna Folk Festival that Jeri mentioned in her post as did Kathy.

I believe that I was fortunate to go to each one. However, one year (they were held in March)there was a terrible blizzard the day I was to leave and I really, really wanted to go. I had a broken leg and was in a cast well above my knee and didn't want to take a chance driving in such bad weather. So, I decided to take a bus - which actually turned out to be 3 busses. Oh, to be young again! I walked with cast and duffle bag about 2 miles to catch a bus to Hartford. Then took a bus to Springfield. While waiting for the bus to Albany I overheard 2 young college students talking and one of them said, "Niskyuna".

"Excuse me," I said. "Did you say, Niskyuna?" One of the girls said she was from Niskyuna and was going home for the weekend from Smith College to go to the Niskyuna Folk Festival. Shocked, I told her that I too was going there. When she heard that, she asked me how I was getting from the bus station to the high school. My reply was that I hadn't a clue, probably a cab. She said her father was picking her up at the bus station and they had to go right by the high school on their way home and would I like a ride. I sure did. They wouldn't even tell me their name so I could properly thank them. But I'll never forget their kindness. Gordon Bok gave me a ride home since he was going to Annie Muir's and she livedabout 20 minutes from me at that time. What a great weekend that was.

Vaughn not only instilled in her students a love for the music but she helped them become wonderful human beings (Jeri is a prime example). What an incredible gift. I for one am greatful to have known Vaughn and will always remember the Niskyuna Festival and especially the kindness of one of her students.

Despite your devastating loss at this holiday season, George, I hope that you can remember the good times and try to realize how many people are better people for having known Vaughn.

karen kobela


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 09:23 AM

This is the saddest of news. I remember Vaughn as a gracious lady who loved her music and her friends in music. I am the proud owner of a signed book from the Adirondack Liar's Club, signed by Vaughn. I will treasure it the more now. George, Sincere condolences to you and you family. Burl.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 11:51 AM

Oh dear. Love to all her loves....

~Susan


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 12:33 PM

George,

I'm so sorry to hear this sad news. I'm glad I got to hang with you two at whatever festival that was----seems ages ago.

ArtThieme


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM

George, do you remember the Christmas eve (or near to) when you and Vaughn got snowed in at our house, and we built up a big fire, and George had just discoverdd how to make whiskey sours? And we sang, and talked, until the wee hours? What a lovely time that was- one of my cherished memories. I fell in love with the both of you then, and it's a love affair that's never ended, nor will. Much love, tears and smiles to you and yours, Jean & George


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Hollowfox
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 01:59 PM

Vaughn never got the credit she deserved. Sure, she would have loved to have the recognition of her name as the author of all those books. But she did not create the words that ended up on the page, they weren't hers. They were the words of people older than she was, with even less recognition. She helped translate their stories into print, but the words still belonged to them, and she was too honorable to put her name where their name rightfully belonged.
Vaughn gave being a lady a good name. Probably every one of us females remembers gritting their teeth when they heard "Why can't you be a little lady like...?" If *that* was a lady, I never wanted to be one. And then I met Vaughn. She had the gift, whatever the circumstances, to put a person at ease, so that they wouldn't feel awkward or threatened. This could be a gawky teen who'd seen a performance and got up the courage to say they liked the show or my mother on my wedding day. Vaughn was my matron of honor and my mother was a bit edgy, looking at all my bohemian friends trying to disguise themselves as responsible adults for the day. Vaughn knew my mother was a teacher, and struck up a conversation on that level; the perfect thing to do.
And never forget that Vaughn was a teacher, another maligned word. When she taught high school (14-18 year olds), she found out that there was a rumor that she could actually read her students' minds, and we're talking about a well-to-do school with sophisticated students. But she preferred to share both her knowledge and information rather than lecture. She took equal delight in discovering something, and in sharing it with anyone who wanted it, needed it, or was willing to hear.

Kat, you know that book you got for Christmas, The Blue Cat of Castle Town? The first time I had a good long visit with Vaughn, I recommended that she read it. First time I'd ever done that, since it's so close to my heart. Vaughn then told me that she and George had lived in Castleton, Vermont, and encouraged me to go and visit the town, which I did that spring. If anybody lived the lesson of that book, it's Vaughn.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 12:04 AM

For those of you who may not have heard, the Memorial Service for Vaughn will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 16th, at the Glenridge Grange in Rexford, New York. All of her old friends will certainly want to be there. More information as I get it.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: kendall
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM

My deepest sympathy to you and yours George.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: DeanC
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM

I'm a more recent acquaintance of Vaughn's having met her and George probably about 15 years ago. I admired her for the work she did in folk lore and for the way she handled the adversities that life through at her. But I really wanted to say something on behalf of my wife, Carly Gewirz. Vaughn was one of many in the folk community who gave great support to Carly at a time when she most needed it. Vaughn went out of her way to help Carly, and we will always remember her for that.
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to George and the rest of the family.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: GUEST,georgeward
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 02:42 AM

This is the first time I've been able to visit Mudcat since Vaughn's death. And here, as everywhere else I turn, I find the ripples of Vaughn's living spreading farther than I think she would have imagined (and she had a powerful imagination). I do pray that her soul is taking it all in.

I'm too fried right now to do more than thank dear Jeri for doing what I couldn't bring myself to do in a timely way, and to let you all know I've read every post. I'll be showing them to Pete and 'Than later today (kytrad: thanks to your alter-ego, whose name we borrowed early on, Nathaniel has never been "Nate").

Vaughn's death, when it came, was peaceful and relatively pain-free. She was in the hospital the last round for less than twenty-four hours. We had a chance - she and I - for all the necessary last things, somehow without being crushed by them. The boys, their partners and I gathered in her room her last night, and we had a final family gathering - Indian carryout and all, not a bit morbid (far from it!) - expecting we had a few more days.

Probably a blessing we didn't, really, as she had a very aggressive form of liver cancer which no available chemotherapy could touch. We had the best of doctors, and she was on a rigorous complimentary medicine program that had her - in many ways - in better health than she'd been in years. Despite a horrific medical crisis in February and another major surgery in early November, we managed - and she managed - to have a wonderfully positive(even adventurous) last year. Along with all the insight, wit and creativity, my love had extraordinary courage and focus.

For some who will wonder, yes, her passing leaves a hole in my life that will never be filled. I don't want or need it to be. I'd rather remember. She left us all, and me in particular, with so much that is good. Not least a remarkable network of family, friends and colleagues. As she did, I treasure you all.

A brief elaboration on Sandy's note: The Glenridge Grange is really not in Rexford, NY. It is in neighboring Glenville. And it is not on Glenridge Road, either, as its name would imply, but on Pashley Rd., which is four lights north of Glenridge Rd. on NYS Rt. 50. If anyone is seriously planning to come Sunday (I should have rented an airplane hangar, I'm afraid, not a grange...and I should have known that), call us if you're confused by this, or post something like "huh ?" here, and I'll check in later today and clarify.

Love to all, -George ::-.--O


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 11:37 AM

A beautiful message, George, and thanks for the address corrections. We'll see you tomorrow.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: georgeward
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 08:52 PM

Greetimgs all. This is Than Ward writing. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the outpouring of rememberances and support. All children to some degree take their parents for granted, even if we think otherwise and taking in the thoughts and feelings of others has helped me a great deal to keep up my awareness that my Mother was remarkable to everyone that knew her. Obviously she was remarkable to me. Re: the somewhat in dispute directions to the memorial; check out the Caffe Lena web site for a map and directions. WWW.caffelena.com, click on news. Thanks to you all. Nathaniel Ward


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:16 PM

Any cheap motels around there these days?

I want to be there very much, but I don't know if I'll be able to make it. I don't want to miss what's sure to be a celebration of Vaughn's life, and a bringing-together of some of the people whose spirits she touched.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: lamarca
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 11:25 PM

I've been trying to think of the right words to say here to express my sorrow over losing Vaughn. I don't have the long years of aquaintance with her that Jeri and others have, but she was generous and supportive of me when I was a newcomer to an old social crowd. I'll miss her energy, enthusiasm and just plain kindness a whole lot.

George, Than and Peter - my husband (George Stephens) and I wish we could be there tomorrow to share in the memories and music. I wish you all peace and hope.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM

Jeri: It might not make sense for you to drive even farther south, but the cheapest motel I know of is two hours south of the grange. However, you're more than welcome to use it. It's called the "Patons' place," and it's near Camp Freedman. You know where that is.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 10:12 AM

Sandy, thanks, and I love ya.
I'm afraid I'm going to stay stuck here. It's a 5 hour drive, and I have things I have to be here for today. My heart will be with you all, though.

I was going to put into my first post, but I felt it would be too much. It's important for me to say, though.

Vaughn gave me far more than the music. I was behind on a project in her class, and we sat down to talk. I figured I was in big trouble, and was going to get a tongue-lashing. Instead, she listened. She listened to what I said, but also to what was in my heart. She asked the kind of questions I learned to ask myself when I try to figure out why I'm behaving, or not behaving a particular way. Vaughn didn't focus on the fact I was late on the project, but WHY I was late. In that one meeting I'd so feared, she taught me how to step outside myself and try to see the truth of who I am.

I suspect she did things like this all the time, and perhaps never knew how those little talks would help guide a person's entire life. She taught me how to make myself a better person, and I doubt there's any greater lesson one can learn.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: GUEST,Terri
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 08:27 PM

Jeri, It was so amazing to see your entry as the first page of many,in a spiral notebook at Vaughn's memorial. Good to know you're out there! Even though I was never in Vaughn's class, I knew her and George during high school and since, through many associations. It threw me and apparently everyone else when the news hit of her passing. The memorial was a wonderful tribute, and it felt like there could be many more hours of sharing. Someone could write a book of all the stories people have to tell of Vaughn's "ripples" in their lives! Vaughn and George were comforting presences as teachers in the high school when we were there. I was such an "outie" that the few who did accept me as who I was will always remain in my "good memory" file. Vaughn not only accepted me, but encouraged me with my singing and playing, even though I wasn't interested in the traditional folk that she loved. Here's the irony- now I am teaching American Folk Music to high school students! Isn't that a kick? And I can tell you, it ain't easy! They think of the music I sang back then (J.Mitchell, J.Collins, J. Baez, PP&M, etc.) as traditional!! Anyway, I can only hope to make a positive difference in a student's life, with Vaughn and George as models. Peace to all, especially the Ward family. Terri Roben


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 09:21 PM

Isn't this incredible?!?! Terri, I haven't seen you for nearly 20 years! (Terri sang Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" at our High School graduation, and what a beautiful voice she has!) Terri, if you can get my e-mail address from George, please write and say "Hi."

I wish I could have been there. I sat here all day, and thought about what the coming-together of all those folks and their intertwined memories of Vaughn must have been like.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward
From: GUEST,Ray Wall
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 05:56 PM

Just saw Vaughn on a tv show. Called George to let him know and realized that it's been just a little over 10 years since Vaughn died. An early loss is always an especially hard loss for all.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward 7 Dec 2001
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 06:14 PM

It is a wonderful testament to people that they are remembered fondly after their deaths.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward 7 Dec 2001
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 06:46 AM

Is it realy that long since Vaughan passed away? I remember her well, lovely lady that she was. She and George put me on their festival at Niskayuna School, my first American gig. Best wishes to you George, I will never forget that festival, nor the time you and I watched a plane fly awaythen realised I should have been on it. Good luck my friend. Keep on singing. Roy.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Vaughn Ward 7 Dec 2001
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 07:46 AM

Vaughn sounds like some-one I would have enjoyed meeting with very much. It is inspiring to read all the activities she became involved with.

I have added her name to the Mudcat Memorial Thread.

Best wishes,

Peter


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