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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“I always looked forward to seeing Paul every Sunday morning at bible class we would both come early and he would always have the coffee ready. Paul...Read More »
1 of 7 | Posted by: Marvin Gies - Gregory, SD

“Dear Betty, Rhonda and family, we are sorry for the loss of Paul. We usually saw him at the Vaughn Reunions, and he was always fun to visit with....Read More »
2 of 7 | Posted by: Jolene & Don Haynes - Philip, SD

“In sympathy and in Friendship Jigs ”
3 of 7 | Posted by: Jigs Cole Kibler - Spearfish, SD

“Dear Betty, Rhonda & family, I am so sorry to hear of your loss! Paul was truly an outgoing person that enjoyed life to the fullest! He was a good...Read More »
4 of 7 | Posted by: Ron Nikodym - Shawnee, KS

“So sorry to hear of your loss. Keeping you & family in my prayers. Always enjoy driving by to see the beautiful Christmas displays and gorgeous...Read More »
5 of 7 | Posted by: Jane Leibel - Mobridge, SD

“Paul was my sixth grade teacher at Sioux valley #35. He was quite a teacher. Betty and your whole family hold a special place in my heart. God Bless...Read More »
6 of 7 | Posted by: Alice Miner - Gregory, SD

“Paul was my sixth grade teacher at Sioux valley #35. He was quite a teacher. Betty and your whole family hold a special place in my heart. God Bless...Read More »
7 of 7 | Posted by: Alice Miner - Gregory, SD


Paul Randall Vaughn was born on August 25, 1940 to Lyle and Cecil (Alexander) Vaughn on the family home south of Herrick, SD near the Ponca Creek. Many adventures were had growing up along the "crick" with siblings AdaMae, Sonny, Inez, Ray, Rosemary, and the twins, Sharon and Karon. Paul attended grade school at St. Charles, SD and graduated from Bonesteel High School in 1958. While in high school, he was very involved in sports including basketball, football, and track. Immediately upon graduation, he attended summer school at Springfield Southern Teachers College. That fall, just turning 18 years old, he began a 17 year teaching career in the surrounding area mainly in country schools. Some of his most memorable teaching years were spent in the Iona, Carlock, and Herrick area. During much of his teaching career, summers were spent hauling small square bales to make ends meet!

On August 1, 1959, Paul along with his brothers were involved in a devastating automobile accident near Atkinson, NE. A month long hospital stay resulted, in which 14 days were spent unconscious with both jaws and his nose broken. The accident was something he spoke of often.

Paul met the love of his life, Betty Manke, at a dance in Colome, SD. They were united in marriage on November 3, 1962 and to this union one daughter, Rhonda Lou was born. Paul was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith. He was a member of the St. John Lutheran Church serving as elder, usher, and various other positions. He enjoyed Sunday morning Bible studies and fellowship. His church life was very important to him.

Paul never met a stranger and enjoyed visiting and getting to know people. So in 1968, when he became a charter insurance agent with Continental General Insurance Agency, it was a perfect combination. Along with his wife Betty, Paul began the Vaughn Insurance Agency. He continued in this career until the time of his death. He built a reputation of customer service, and would try his best to ensure that his customer's claims were met. He spent many hours on the phone negotiating with hospitals, clinics, his own insurance company, and even Medicare. During his successful career he was awarded for his accomplishments. He was particularly proud of achieving 781 weeks in the app a week club. Also notable was attaining membership in the top life insurance sales in 1991 and being named his company's Top Health Individual Producer of the Year in 1993.

In 1995, after years of saving and planning, Paul and Betty were able to build their dream home east of Gregory. Paul thoroughly loved his house, his yard, watching the trees grow, and sitting on his porch watching the traffic go by.

Paul loved sharing a good story, playing a game of cribbage, dancing to a good old song, watching his corn and hay grow, playing a competitive game of pool, watering Betty's flowers, spending time in his home, driving old white Cadillacs, telling stories about his 57 Ford, and enjoying anything his daughter Rhonda was involved in. Paul and Betty were known for their dazzling Christmas displays. He was an avid fan of the Gregory Polka band where he loved to hear Rhonda's saxophone. He was proud of his son in law Tom Waterbury and would jump at the opportunity to help him any chance he had. Paul was an extremely prompt person, and being on time meant being there early.

Paul struggled with several health issues the last several years, but he continued to maintain his business. However, on February 2, 2016, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Even though his body was weak, he chose to battle this horrible disease. He put up a brave fight, but lost his battle on May 16, 2016. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the Burke Community Memorial Hospital at the age 75.

Paul is survived by his wife of 53 years, Betty. His daughter, Rhonda and her husband Tom Waterbury of Gregory, SD; His sisters: Ada Mae Moody of Butte, NE; Rosemary (Lamone) Kerner, of Burke, SD; Sharon Jensen of Fairfax, SD; brothers- and sisters-in-law: Bev (Jim) Keegan of Gregory, SD; Sandy (Gene) Baker of O'Neill, NE; Larry Manke of Pierre, SD; Donnie Manke of Gregory, SD; DeAnne Vaughn of O'Neill, NE, and Clayton Steele of Burke; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lyle and Cecil Vaughn, his mother- and father-in-law, William and Mary Manke; siblings: Lyle Vaughn Jr (Sonny), Inez Tech, Ray Vaughn, Karon Steele, and infant sister Mildred. In-laws: Don Moody, Lorretta Vaughn, Darrell Tech, and Helmer Jensen.

Paul was a loving husband, father, and brother always willing to help his family and friends. We will miss his stories and jokes. He will be truly missed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Paul Vaughn, 75, of Gregory, SD, were held Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Gregory with Pastor Clark Gies officiating. A prayer service was held Friday evening at the church.

Music was provided by Leanne Sinclair, pianist, and Geoff Smith, soloist, singing "In the Garden" and "How Great Thou Art." Congregational hymns were "Precious Lord Take My Hand" and "Go My Children with My Blessing."

Paul's nieces Diane Boska, Carla Schmitz, and Jessica Baker Jones were in charge of registration.

Valorie Lipscomb, Sonya Fernau, Sheila Taylor, LaRae Kerner, and Patti Rust, Paul's nieces, were in charge of flowers.

Casket Bearers were nephew Justin Keegan, Paul VandenBosch, Wayne Bachmann, Roger Wonnenberg, Stan Waterbury, Marvin Gies, and Bryan Nelson.

Honorary Casket Bearers were Gary Hoffman, Jim Pochop, John Smith, Christina Nelson, Paul's church family and all his insurance policy holders, Mary Ellwanger, Carol Buck, Bonnie Moody, Tim Vaughn, Dave Tech, Darla Peterson Deb Bartling, Chauncey Keegan, Jay Keegan, Lavonne Smith, Lemars Manke, Fonda Knutson, Shelly Ryan, Shane Steele, AJ Jensen, Randy Baker, and William Baker.

Burial was in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Gregory, SD.