In Recognition of Ralph Vaughan

The City of Syracuse would like to recognize Ralph Vaughan, who passed away on July 1st. Ralph was a sitting member of the Planning Commission when he passed; he has been a member of the Commission since July 2013. His work and dedication to the City of Syracuse is recognized by many. He is known for his kind greetings, fun ties, and willingness to serve his community positively. Ralph also participated in many blood drives and was recognized by Fresenius Kabi, and inducted into the National Donation Hall of Fame for his contributions; Ralph donated over 144 gallons of blood donated to help others.

Councilmember Corinne Bolduc writes:

Syracuse City mourns the passing of Mr. Ralph Vaughan. Mr. Vaughan had an amazing history of civic service, including his employment as an undercover police officer, Supervising Deputy Sheriff IV for San Diego County and instructor at Palomar College, and in community service ranging from San Diego jail chaplain, Blood Bank Board, Crime Prevention Commission, and Planning Commission. He was currently a member of the Syracuse Planning Commission (PC) and served with diligence, going above and beyond to research the topics on the agenda for each meeting. He was also a consistent attendee to Council Meetings and ran for Council in 2017, best remembered for his ‘Honk and Wave’ under a large umbrella on Antelope Drive. Mr. Vaughan was also an advocate for Americans with Disabilities and made sure that was part of his platform when he ran for office. He wanted everyone to have the same chances for service and access that we all enjoy.

When we were first introduced, I told him that my grandfather’s name was Ralph. We had an instant connection. And as I write in my iPad, and type the name Ralph, “Vaughan” automatically appears in the suggested words above my keypad. He always reminded me that his parents “paid to have an extra vowel in their name,” so that I would remember to get the “additional A” in Vaughan. Because I am the PC liaison, I had the pleasure to talk with him before almost every meeting. Ralph would always greet me with a handshake, a slight smile and a twinkle in his eye. He told me on several occasions, “I believe in you.” What a blessing he was!

Mr. Vaughan was known for being a blood donor, and at last that I knew, he had donated over 144 gallons of blood, and was the current Utah record holder. I can only imagine how many lives he helped save by donating over and over again for years, and years, doing what most cannot tolerate but one or two times and never return again. He blessed so many anonymously in their greatest hour of need.

Mr. Vaughan was always well dressed and had a large collection of ties; one tie (or many) for every holiday of the year. Ties that lit up, ties that played music, and ties that were just funny. He loved to show them to people. When he learned that one of my sons had just received a mission call, he offered to give us several of his ties. I declined, saying that my son had plenty, but it would be a treasure to have one of those ties now. If I see a novelty tie, I will remember Ralph and the joy he gave with something so simple.

At the last several Planning Commission Meetings, Mr. Vaughan was in terrible pain. Having spasms in his leg, he ended up using a walker in case one hit. As he said, “it could take him to the ground.” I was impressed at his diligent attendance to PC meetings where he had to stand and walk about frequently to alleviate the pain. It is a tender memory of mine to have walked slowly with him into the building, not knowing that it would be his last meeting. When he asked for a leave of absence for a short while to get better, we all could understand why, but none of us expected this. The City mourns with his wife, Gaea, and their five daughters. We express our sincere gratitude to them for allowing their husband and father to bless people wherever he went, and for his service to the City of Syracuse.


  1. We were teens together, neighbors in Vista.CA. in the 60s. A truly nice guy. Yall were blessed to know him.

  2. Ralph and his wife were a great help for my mother in Vista after the passing of my father. I was a sheriff explorer and rode along with Ralph. He and Gaea are loved friends of my family since my youth.

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