HERRIN - Alice Joan Vaught, 87, formally of Olympia Fields, passed peacefully on March 6, 2020, at 11:52 a.m., at Reflections Memory Care, Herrin, Illinois. Survived by her three children; Lynn D’Angelo (Paul), Mark Vaught (Debbie), and Timothy Vaught, three grandchildren Peter and Ryan D’Angelo and Nathan Vaught, and one great-grandchild, Dominic D’Angelo. Alice was born on October 1, 1932, in Freeport, Long Island, New York, to parents John and Mary Wiseman, the fourth of five children. Her family spent much of each summer at Jones Beach, swimming and picnicking.
Her post-secondary education began at Gettysburg College, but after one year, Alice went to Indiana where her sister Mary and her brother Phil lived, attending Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. She met Don, in the cafeteria where they worked as dishwashers. Alice graduated in 1954 with a BS in Education, with a double major in English and Spanish. Alice and Donald Vaught were married on June 18th, 1955 in Freeport, Long Island, New York.
Alice had a limitless appetite for both travel and learning. She lived most of her life in the Chicago area, while her travels took her to the Blue Footed boobies of the Galapagos Islands, to the Bush of Australia, to the castles and ancient sites of Europe and Mexico, to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, and numerous other places, pursuing her next great adventure. Alice, with her pharmacist husband Don, traveled the USA, and Canada attending State and National Pharmacy Conventions annually until his death in 2002. She maintained memberships with the Chicago Museums and Theater for herself and her family’s education and enjoyment. Alice embraced life, taking a big bite of the apple and always making sure she shared these experiences with her loved ones.
Alice loved her family -- all of them, no matter their history, their successes, or their failings. One of Alice’s primary goals was to oversee the growth and direction of her family with encouragement, self-sacrificing support, and solemn love. She did this faithfully with her children, nieces, and nephews (being a favorite Aunt) and continued with her grandchildren. She made no bones about it if she thought a loved one might be moving in a perilous direction. She exercised firm judgment with humor and compassion and advocated for those with less. She took pleasure in her culinary creations at holiday times and loved hosting family gatherings.
Alice was gifted with a special understanding of children and her passion as an advocate for children with learning disabilities was born out of struggles in school her children faced, especially her youngest son Timothy, despite an IQ in the gifted range. Alice demonstrated her fierce love and passion believing that all children have a right to learn and if a child struggled, it was not acceptable to label a child as lazy or stupid. Rather strengths, interests, evaluation, and testing should be done and a collaborative plan should be made so that each child could achieve their potential. As a pioneer and leader in Special Education, Alice worked tirelessly to educate parents, teachers, and legislators while continuing to attend and/or present at seminars and conferences. She completed a Masters in Special Education at DePaul University to further her skills. She worked for the creation of College Night, a transitioning support program for students with learning disabilities and families considering post-secondary education. It was not uncommon to find Alice at an IEP meeting, as an expert witness in court, or tutoring a child who was struggling. Alice became a resource to parents in the South Suburban Chicago area frequently receiving calls from parents seeking advice. Alice was a recipient of the Points of Light award created by President George H.W. Bush to honor volunteers and others who work to make a difference in their communities.
Her son Mark recalled her enthusiasm for attending his football games and her vocal support! Her grandchildren benefited from her love and guidance too and she considered them the “joy of her life.” As adults, they would bring her gifts of red wine, flowers or chocolate when visiting and were faithful to return love and support as she contended with Alzheimer’s for several years.
Alice cherished those who took the time to sit with her during her final years as Alzheimer’s slowly and cruelly stole her mind, though it never diminished her spirit or her wonderful sense of humor. Her children and grandchildren brought her mocha drinks, chocolates, or her favorite coffee ice cream to enjoy when visiting her at Reflections. Siblings and cousins visited her too, which she and her family appreciated! Alice possessing much grace and a determined faith was prepared and ready for her next great adventure, her passport full of stamps and ports from all over the world. She is and will be missed by many. Bon Voyage Alice.
Memorials in Alice’s name may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of Southern Illinois.
Funeral services for Alice will be 1:30pm on Friday, March 20, 2020 at Machledt & Servies Funeral Home in Waveland, IN. Burial will follow at Portland Mills Cemetery in Parke County. Visitation will be 12 – 1:30pm at the funeral home on Friday.
Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale assisted the family with local arrangements.
To leave a story or memory of Alice visit, www.meredithfh.com.