Dr. Thomas John Vaughn, Jr. died on April 17, 2022, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born to Alice Katherine Wagner Vaughn and Thomas John Vaughn, Sr. on October 26, 1943, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Tom grew up in Oklahoma City, graduating from John Marshall High School in 1961. Tom went on to attend the University of Central Oklahoma, where he was an active member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, and graduated in 1967. He taught psychology at John Marshall High School.
Tom developed a deep concern for human rights and the wellbeing of others early in life. After high school, he selflessly risked bodily harm participating in Freedom Rides and voter registration efforts in the American South responsive to the Movement for Civil Rights. His commitment to taking action led to his rapid development as a political organizer and thrusted him into nationally important roles in the presidential campaigns of Eugene Mcarthy and George McGovern, where he also joined efforts to end the Vietnam War.
Tom established a lasting and impactful career in psychology where he specialized in working with children who had experienced trauma. He held a private practice in Oklahoma City, then Shawnee, and joined medical staff at the Shawnee Regional Hospital. He served as Director of the Clinical Psychology Internship program at the Health Sciences Center, and held a faculty appointment at the University of Oklahoma. Tom contributed greatly to the field of psychology throughout his career, holding leadership and committee roles of local, regional and national organizations, including the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, Oklahoma Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. For his efforts, he received multiple recognitions and awards, including being honored with the Karl F. Heiser Award by the APA, the Norma P. Simon Award and Asher R. Pacht Distinguished Service Award by ASPPB for his advocacy and extraordinary contributions to psychology, and received the distinction of being certified by the American Board of Psychological Professionals. Tom’s legacy of dedication will continue to benefit Psychology for decades to come.
Tom deeply enjoyed the outdoors and recreation. He fostered that appreciation for being outside in those around him, and could often be found at a national park or on a golf course. He was also actively involved in the Canadian River Cruisers car club, and frequently displayed his cherry red 1955 Chevy 150 at area car shows in the service of raising money to support social uplift programs.
Tom is survived by wife, Susan Vaughn, known professionally as Dr. Susan McCurdy; brother, Don Vaughn and his wife Sarah Vaughn; daughter, Laura Vaughn and her husband Justin Lincks; son, Ryan Vaughn and his wife Laura Lussier-Vaughn; step-daughter, Candice Clark and her husband Bradley Clark; step-son, John McCurdy and his wife Annemarie Raizman; grandchildren, Jacquelyn Vaughn and Elizabeth Vaughn, Jordan Simmons and husband Jake, Jacob Sheehy, Kaitlyn Reynolds and husband Joey, Abby Sheehy, and Savannah McCurdy; great-grandchildren, Noah Simmons and Maebry Simmons. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his uncle, Bill D. Wagner.
In the spirit of Tom’s service, if you would like to make a donation to the charity of your choice, or many of the organizations Tom supported, please consider Food and Shelter for Friends, City Rescue Mission, or the American Cancer Society. The family would like to express gratitude to the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center and Heartland Hospice.