Mrs. Bonnie McMillan Vaughan, age 89, a native of Sparta, NC, passed away Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 at her residence.
Bonnie was born June 12th, 1930 in the homeplace where she currently lived on S. Main Street to the late Edgar and Lela Cox McMillan. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John Robert Vaughan; a son, Joe Vaughan; a sister. Ima Vaughan; four brothers: Paige, Hoke, Ed, and John McMillan.
Bonnie started to school in the wooden building of Sparta Elementary in 1936. She walked across town to school each day. Bonnie's favorite childhood memory was receiving a pair of roller skates for Christmas in 1940 where she would roller skate on the sidewalks of Main Street until she had completely worn out the wheels, but the roller skate key is still on display to this day with all of her trophies and medals. In her 8th grade year of school, she was elected as a cheerleader for Sparta High School's first football team in 1943. She started her working career at the age of 14, as a clerk in Belk Department Store in Sparta. Bonnie spent her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years of High School in Dayton, OH, living with her sister Ima and family. She took business courses, shorthand, typing and bookkeeping before entering Woman's College, UNC Greensboro to graduate from the one year commercial course in 1949. After graduation, she worked in Sparta for Production and Marketing for the Department of Agriculture. After wedding John Robert Vaughan in December, 1951 in the Sparta United Methodist Church, she moved to Akron, OH. She began a career with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company as secretary to the President of Firestone Textiles. After the birth of her two sons, Joe McMillan Vaughan and Robert Carper Vaughan, she became a full-time mother, homemaker, and volunteer. Her most rewarding times were many activities with their two sons such as camping trip vacations, teaching Sunday School to both Joe and Rob, being a Den Mother for Joe and Rob in the Cub Scouts, a Booster Club mom in Sparta. She enjoyed serving as Township Chair Lady of the United Way's annual fundraiser event, presenting Nature Programs in Akron-Cleveland area to Church Women groups, College Alumni groups, Garden Clubs, and City Clubs. She was a lifetime Methodist. She joined Sparta United Methodist Church in 1942. She taught Sunday School since Joe was 2 years of age. In 1949, she became a member and was a past president of United Methodist Women. She was a nursery helper during worship hour. Over the years as a Methodist, she was active in Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta, NC, North Hill Methodist Church in Akron, OH, Peninsula United Methodist Church in Peninsula, OH, and E. Naples United Methodist Church in Naples, FL. After John Robert's retirement in 1981, they moved back to the Homeplace during the summer months and Naples, Fl during the winter months. While in Naples, Fl, she enjoyed teaching Sunday School in the Adult Class at E. Naples United Methodist Church, working in Preschool at the church as a substitute teacher, and becoming a charter member of Naples Walking Club in 1992, competing in many race walking events in Naples/Fort Myers areas and other track events. During the summer months living in Sparta, she organized the Alleghany Silver Strider Walking Program for the NC Senior Games in 1992. A Walking Journal of miles walked daily has been followed faithfully since 1992. As of October 2019, she had logged 44, 290 miles walked. She participated in the Blue Ridge Senior Games starting in 1986 as well as volunteering annually at the NC Senior Games and National Senior Games, holding state records in both 5k and 1500M Racewalks. She was the recipient of the first Governor's Medallion Award in Alleghany County for: volunteering at Alleghany Cares since 1994, Genesis/Alleghany Center since 1982, Alleghany Senior Center since 1986, Alleghany Agriculture Fair (a cabinet in Homeplace holds shelves of Ribbons awarded for entries in the Fair each year), American Cancer Society where she was team Captain for the annual Relay for Life fundraiser.
Bonnie is survived by a son, Rob Vaughan of Sparta; three grandchildren: Stephanie Fanizzi and husband Dan of Peninsula, OH, Bobby Vaughan of Sparta, Alexis Vaughan of Peoria, IL; five great-grandchildren: Kiersten and Joey of OH, Kaycen of IL, Jonah and Penelope of NC; a brother, Joe McMillan of Wilkesboro; nieces and nephews also survive.
A Memorial Service to honor the life of Bonnie will be held at 4:00pm on Thursday, June 11th, 2020 at Sparta United Methodist Church with the Reverend Bob Miller officiating. Everyone attending will be required to where mask and social distancing rules will apply.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sparta United Methodist Church PO Box 697, Sparta, NC 28675.
Eric Thomas Funeral Service Licensee, LLC is honored to be serving the Vaughan family. If you wish, online tributes may be extended to the family at www.ericthomasfsl.com.
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