Vaughn Franklin Philpot
Vaughn Franklin Philpot, 93, of Seattle, Washington, passed away peacefully with his family by his side early on April 30, 2018, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, Washington.
Vaughn was born on September 13, 1924, in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine to Franklin and Doris (Pratt) Philpot. He attended Foxcroft Academy and enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. He served overseas in General George Patton’s 3rd Army during World War II and received a Purple Heart during his service. You often saw him wearing his Utah Beach hat which is where he landed during the invasion of the French beaches just six days after D-Day. While stationed in England he met and married his wife of nearly 72 years, Ethel (Crump), of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. Following World War II, Vaughn was stationed in England, Germany and Massachusetts. After serving in the Army he graduated from the Franklin Institute of Technology and eventually went to work for the Merrill Shoe Company.
In 1957, the Philpot’s moved to Seattle, Washington, when Vaughn was hired as a machinist by the Boeing Company, working there for over 30 years. During his career at Boeing, Vaughn worked at Boeing’s main plant in Seattle, as well as facilities in Renton, Everett, Kent and multiple short-term assignments in Boeing’s Military Division in Moses Lake, permanently retiring in 1989. One of the premium jobs was creating the interiors of JFK’s presidential plane as well as many other international leaders. Vaughn’s hobby of repairing and restoring piano keys for a number of piano shops between Everett and Tacoma turned into the machine he invented to restore those keys.
Vaughn and Ethel shared a love of travel and ventured to much of the United States and Mexico in their motorhome. They traveled overseas to Spain, Monaco, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand on multiple occasions. They particularly enjoyed visiting Ethel’s family in England as often as they could. The scores of photographs and movies of their many trips spurned a love of travel in the entire family. Some of their trips were to visit friends met over the airwaves, as Vaughn found a love of amateur radio and would often visit friends made while “shooting skip” across the globe. Eventually he turned to computers to face time with his friends across the world. In May of 2017 Vaughn traveled to Washington, D.C. as a guest of Puget Sound Honor Flight, a trip he enjoyed recounting the rest of his days. Vaughn was a member of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Burien, Washington, AERO Machinists Union and also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.
Vaughn was hard-working, humble and generous, with a soft-spot for his daughter, grandchildren and especially his great-grandsons. Nobody was a stranger to Vaughn after meeting him once; inherently curious, he made many friends by just asking them how something worked His favorite hobby was that of a tinker, creating his own tools and jigs to make and fix things, a skill that served him well during his career at Boeing. Vaughn also found great joy repairing the cars, trucks, tractors and heavy equipment he collected over the years. He shared his love of all things mechanical with his grandsons. They learned that there was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with perseverance, creative problem solving, simple mechanics, and more than a little “improvisation”.
Vaughn was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Doris, and sister Irene King, all of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. He is survived by his wife, Ethel, sister Marge Pfeiffer (Gene), of Clinton, Maine, daughter Dorn Barr, grandsons Bill Slosson (Amber), Nick Barr (Kelly), granddaughter Heather Sweet (Guy), two great-grandsons, Gerrick and Jake and cousin, Doris Bir of Massachusetts. He is also survived by his many English relatives with whom he spent many happy days: Sisters-in-law, Lily, Mary and Kath as well as many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and grand nephews. He will be greatly missed by his dog, Susie, and cat, Missy, constant companions, sidekicks, and partners in crime.
On June 21 he was interred at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington. The family suggests donations in Vaughn’s name be made to the Puget Sound Honor Flight organization, ww.pugetsoundhonorflight.org or to the Vaughn Philpot Technical Scholarship at North Thurston Education Foundation, www.ntef.org.