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Rev. Vaughn Wright

Monday, November 8, 2010

"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly." (Patrick Overton, The Learning Tree, 1975). Vaughn L. Wright was taught to fly on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 at the age of 59 after a six-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Born April 18, 1951, in Centerville, Iowa, to Ivan and Elahvonne Wailes Wright, Vaughn has one sister, Marla Wright Swesey, who resides with her husband Mike Swesey, in Iowa City, Iowa. His father preceded him in death, and his mother, who lives in Knoxville, Iowa, survives, as well as his stepfather, Harold Wright.

Vaughn graduated from Centerville High School in 1969. He then attended the University of Iowa with a goal of pursuing a law degree; however, God had a different plan for Vaughn -- his faith and influences from ministers and teachers of the faith won, and he transferred to Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and earned his Masters of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Ky., in 1977. Vaughn served Disciples of Christ congregations in Springfield, Neosho, and Princeton in Missouri; he and was the pastor at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Dexter for 17 years, having retired April 12, 2009. During his ministry, Vaughn also served as Regional Interim Minister and Vice Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mid-America in Jefferson City. Additionally, he was Chaplain for the Dexter Fire Department. Vaughn was very active in all factions of the regional, area, and local ministry.

Vaughn married the love of his life, Nancy Ellen McClurg on Aug. 24, 1974 in Centerville, Iowa. For the next 36 years, Nancy was a devoted minister's wife, always putting the need of her family before herself. Mrs. Wright survives in Dexter. Vaughn and Nancy have two sons, Shawn and Shannon. Vaughn was so proud of his boys and the joy they brought to his life. He was also happy his sons brought two wonderful women into their lives, whom he claimed as his daughters and loved very much. Shawn and Morgan reside in Springfield; and Shannon and Carrie live in Nixa, with their daughter Blair. Vaughn was so proud of his beautiful granddaughter, Blair, the most recent addition to the Wright family.

Vaughn truly cared about people and loved visiting with them and hearing their stories, while also sharing stories of his own life. His compassionate nature and his faith in God resulted in him touching so many lives whether it was in the church, on hunting trips, on float trips with youth from the Southeast Gateway Area of the Disciples of Christ, while completing his swimming workout, or at school activities. When someone was sick, Vaughn was there nurturing them along the way. When there was a death, Vaughn Wright was there when the transition from earthly life to eternal life was made. When there was a birth in the church family, Vaughn was one of the first visitors to welcome the new one into the world and give the infant a kiss on the head. He also loved music, movies, and nature and was very quick-witted and adventurous. His presence, smile, and twinkle he had in his eye -- as well as the courage and hope he instilled in others -- will truly be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 from 4-8 p.m. at the Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Dexter. Services will be held Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Dexter. There will be no graveside service.

The family wishes to extend a special thanks to the staff and volunteers at Preferred Hospice, ALS Foundation in St. Louis and MDA in Cape Girardeau for their help and support. They also want to convey their appreciation and gratitude to the congregation of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the entire community for the tremendous acts of love and support that have been bestowed upon them.

The multitude of family members, extended family, and friends Vaughn considered family are remembering his favorite passage: "Let not your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me." (John 14:1)

Mmemorial contributions may be made to: The Vaughn Wright Memorial Fund, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 224 East Stoddard Street, Dexter, Mo. 63841 or The ALS Association Development Department, 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 250, Calabasas Hills, Calif. 91301 (include a note stating the gift is in memory of Vaughn Wright, 319 South Walnut, Dexter, Mo. 63841 and is to be used for ALS research).

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