In Loving Memory

George "Dickie" Vaughn

George Dickie Vaughn

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

03/22/17 12:01 PM #1    

Charles Hailey

Dickie was a nice quite guy I liked to talk to when we had the chance, I have thought about him several times in the past years an didn't know where he was or what he was doing.

A great guy.

03/23/17 09:36 AM #2    

Don (Donnie) Williams

Dickie and I had a common interest in electronics, motorscooters and motorcycles. Tom Elam mentions the Cushman, which I knew really well. I helped Dickie do some major engine work, probably around 1962. Dickie was unusual, to say the least. He used to transmit a sound on his CB (yes, he was a ham and a CB operator) to aggravate people. He called it a Q-Bird and it chirped like a bird. I don't see an attachment symbol in this reply section, so I don't know that I can share what I believe to be a sound much like Dickie's Q-Bird. Another unusual thing Dickie did was purposely interfere with a neighbor's TV using some handheld device with an antenna on it. He would do this at night when he could see the TV through a living room window. Maybe I was as unusual as Dickie in my own way and that is why we were good friends until the last time I saw him at the 40th. It made me sad then to see signs of some mental changes. When he was hospitalized and I heard he did not want visitors, that was even sadder. Now I have mixed emotions. Sad - but relieved at his passing. I have added a video with my synthesized Q-Bird on YouTube. The link is in my collection of photos and videos at this site, or you can click on the link here and go straight to YouTube:           ........Donnie 




03/23/17 03:57 PM #3    

Tom Elam

This is very sad, but expected, news. George, and his mom and dad, all died
of Alzheimer's. He attended the 2009 reunion, and I knew something was wrong
even then. So hearing that he was having more serious issues was not

Dan Farrar and I went to see him at the VA hospital in Humboldt during our
2014 reunion. He did not know us. Awful how that disease hollows a person
out, taking the mind and leaving a shell of a body.

There was nothing about him in the Sun, so here are a few facts.

Growing up, he lived behind us, and we saw each other a lot. George,
Dickie back then, was a very different sort of person. In fact, one of the
oddest persons I have ever known. In his field of electronics he was a
genius. And it was all self-taught. An avid amateur radio operator, he talked to people all over the
world, and I think even on the International Space Station. Tom Britt, a
local channel 7 TV personality, once told me that George was only person
that could keep their ancient transmitter working long past the point where
they could easily get repair parts.

Growing up we played with citizen band radios, flew model airplanes, and had
some fun driving his go kart. When I bought a new motorcycle in 1961 I sold
him my old Cushman scooter. I think it was still at his house when he was
admitted to the hospital.

He served in the Air Force from about 1965 to 1969 or 1970. He was initially
stationed in Thailand at Udorn AFB. A radio specialist, he maintained base
and aircraft equipment. After that be was stationed at missile bases in the
Dakotas, also maintaining radios, until discharged. He worked for WBBJ for
most of the rest of his working years.

Except for his service years, he lived with his parents. Their passing was a
huge blow, and I think contributed to his mental issues. His room in that
house was filled with radio gear to be point where it was hard to see how he
had room for a bed! The house had radio antennas stuck all over it.

His dad, also George, took us out to McKeller airport when we were about 10,
and paid for a joyride in a small airplane. That hooked me on flying. On
April 1 I'll celebrate 50 years since I soloed. If the weather is good I'll
be flying most of the day! Thank you, George Sr. You truly changed my life.

An odd duck, but a really great guy. I'm very glad for the great times we
had together.

03/23/17 06:00 PM #4    

Dan Farrar

To echo what Tommy said, Dickie Vaughn was no less than a genius in the radio and electronic field. His room did, in fact, resemble Sanford & Sons front yard but Dickie knew where every part was. In the early 60's when we were all involved in amateur radio, Dickie took a handful of resistors, capacitors, a neon light and a switch, and in a few minutes soldered them all together and installed them into his radio. He used this thing he made, which he named the "Q-Bird", to call attention to all those on a frequency or channel just by flicking a switch on the front of his radio. It transmitted a tone that was identical to the electronic sirens used on all emergency vehicles today. Dickie learned in just a few days, that he could change the tone by varying the value of the capacitors so he added another switch to emit several different tones. In 1964, Mayor George Smith purchased the first electronic siren in Jackson from the Whelen Corporation and installed it on one of his ambulances. Believe it or not, it made the same sound(s) that Dickie's Q-Bird did, and probably cost about a hundred times more. Had any of us ever thought about such a use for the ol' Q-Bird Dickie Vaughn made in his room, he would have beaten the Whelen Corp. to the punch by years with the first electronic siren.......and for the cost of about 30 cents.
Dan Farrar

03/24/17 10:53 PM #5    

Susan Williams (Jeffries)

This is Blake, Susan's brother.

I reemember Dickie when he worked with (for) my Daddy at the Blake Williams Electric Company on North Highland (Hicksville) after I went off to school (UT) in Knoxville.  Daddy became a mentor for Dickie;  Daddy was a natural teacher who got great enjoyment out of watching his protege grow and Dickie developed in the electrical/electronics business in Daddy's later years before Daddy retired.  Susan and I have a great picture of Daddy and Dickie after Dickie came back to visit Daddy after Dickie had begun to work some with WDXI-TV. Dickie had obtained his First Class Commercial Radio-Telephone license (which meant he could obtain a real job in TV/electronics).  Dickie was unusual, but then he and Daddy spoke the same language.

03/27/17 09:53 AM #6    

Sandra Etheridge (Silverstein)


Thank you fellow classmates for all these great comments aobut Dickie. Such a loving tribute to him. 

Im sad to say that I didn't  know him that well, but wow! what an interesting genius he was. sandra e 


03/28/17 09:35 AM #7    

Don (Donnie) Williams

If anyone wishes to see a Cushman very much like Dickie's, I have added a photo to my photo gallery of a similar model with the same color scheme.

03/28/17 12:04 PM #8    

Tom Elam

Susan, thanks for reminding me about Dickie's employment with Blake Williams. I completely spaced that! He loved working there, and mentioned it to me on several occasions. 

go to top 
  Post Comment