OBITUARY

Vaughn G. Bills

April 26, 1924January 3, 2014

Born on the kitchen table on April 26th, 1924 in Salt Lake City as the first of two sons to Glenn C. and Pearl Bills, Vaughn died in his own bed at home on January 3rd at exactly 5:00 PM as a result of advancing Alzheimer's disease and a resent stroke. Over the past ten years he cheated death so many times that even the cat with nine lives would blush. He was shooting for "one hundred and twenty"; he almost made ninety! Although he wasn't perfect, he was a highly energetic man; an achiever who regularly set the bar high for himself. Vaughn attended Wasatch Elementary School and Irving Junior High, and later graduating from East High School in 1941. While at East he developed many lifelong friends some of whom, after watching him successfully milk a cow at the state fair, dubbed him farmer "Zeke", a moniker that followed him throughout life. During World War II Vaughn enlisted in the United States Navy as a navigator and served as a Second Lieutenant in the North Atlantic and the Pacific. While in the Philippines he and a buddy, who resembled Gen Douglas MacArthur, delighted in the public attention they garnered while driving a jeep through the streets of Manila with his buddy wearing dark glasses and smoking a corn cobb pipe. Vaughn graduated as a Civil Engineer from the University of Utah and then courted Betty Mae West, daughter of Rulon and Flora West. The two were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 8, 1952. Being opposites in character and personality, they were a "perfect" match! While Vaughn designed bridges for the State Highway Department (some of which are still in use today), Betty began raising children. Betty received the shock of her life when Vaughn came home one day and announced that he had resigned his "good" job with the State for a business venture with this dad and brother, selling trailers on a lot in South Salt Lake! For several years it was "chicken today and feathers tomorrow" but through long hours and hard work, the business thrived, eventually evolving into a mobile home park community in West Valley City and fifty acres of raw land on which the E-Center is now located today.In 1959 Vaughn and Betty relocated their family to the East Millcreek area, where they built a house in a rural area composed, at the time, mostly of alph alpha fields and orchards. Soon the neighborhood filled in and the Valley View Seventh Ward was created. Not long thereafter, Vaughn approached the bishop, indicating that his boys wanted to be Cub Scouts. "We're not going to have a cub program right now, Vaughn; there isn't enough interest in it". Hours later, after returning from Scout Headquarters, Vaughn announced that he had just been made a "den mother" and that den meetings would start tomorrow. Within several weeks the basement was filled with boys and the bishop's phone ringing off the hook! Before long Vaughn was called as the first pack master of the ward.This strange turn of events launched a lifelong career in Scouting that would include eight years of high adventure Boy Scouting with literally hundreds of boys, fifty mile hikes, hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and through the Zion's Narrows and eventually a Silver Beaver Award, Scouting's highest honor for volunteer scouters. As a youth Vaughn received the Eagle Scout Award and was also in the Sea Scouts. Vaughn's "callings" in the neighborhood and Church were, for the most part, self-created; little league baseball and neighborhood parties. Every fall Vaughn and a neighborhood friend would fill the back of his pickup truck with neighborhood grown fruit and produce and the two would personally distribute it to the indigent under the viaduct and to the parishioners of Saint Theresa's Catholic Church in Midvale. At the age of fifty-six, a creeping ulterior "fear" of death motivated Vaughn to get on a health food "kick" and take up marathon running. Beginning then and continuing until age seventy, he completed twenty- six full marathons, including the Boston and was only forced to quit because of a bad hip. Of the many lessons; good, bad and even ugly, which his incredible life had to teach, Vaughn's final lesson, derived from his past ten year health struggle, surely would have been "don't give up so soon guys, you've got more gas than you think, gung ho, don't give up the ship"!Dad we love you…… we will miss you. May the Lord enfold you in the arms of his everlasting love and keep you….. till that day when we shall meet again.Vaughn is survived by his four children, Christian, divorced (Diane Hall Prince), Gregory (Wendy), Richard (Carolyn), Tamara (Douglas), 15 incredible grandchildren and five beautiful great-grand-children. Vaughn was preceded in death by his parents Glenn C. and Pearl Ellen Doyle Bills, Betty Mae West Bills and his only sibling, Hal D. Bills. Viewing with be held at the Valley View Stake Center located at 2245 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City, UT on Friday January 10th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Pre-Funeral Viewing at the same location on Saturday January 11th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM; funeral at 11:00 AM. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park located at 3401 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, UT.Personal condolences may be expressed on line at www.wasatchlawn.com. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=vaughn-g-bills&pid=168945084&fhid=11609#sthash.7ale9FHB.dpufArrangements under the direction of Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, Salt Lake City, UT.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, January 10, 2014
  • Funeral Service Saturday, January 11, 2014
REMEMBERING

Vaughn G. Bills

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY

receive updates when new memories are posted

RECEIVE UPDATES
Doug Stevens

February 11, 2014

Zeke was like a second father to me. I'm so glad for his support in scouting; getting me interested and involved towards my Eagle award. I have good memories when we fellow scouts of Troop 377 on a 50-mile hike, picked him up early one morning in his sleeping bag and dumped him into East Canyon reservoir. He was a good sport about it! What a wonderful man; he is loved and will be missed. My condolences Chris, Greg, Rick and Tammy.

Richard (Dick) Patterson

January 10, 2014

A great man, scouter, mentor, friend, father, husband, neighbor has been called home and will be missed. Although I was not a great scouter, my years with Zeke were the best. I have memories of my first week long scout trip (East Fork of the Bear) where I was so homesick and Bro. Bills took time to comfort and counsel me. I remember the 50 miler (I still talk about it everytime we go to Henefer), weeding his garden and then cooking the weeds and eating them to pass off a merit badge, pushing his green truck home from mutual so we could work off our hyperness. He will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks to the Bills family for sharing your husband and father with me and all the scouts through out the years.

Tim Olson

January 10, 2014

Thank you Vaughn! Standing in the light snow, you wouldn't tie my tent lines, but you stood there and showed me over and over how to do it. You required we follow the uniform rules, and that we know and complete merit badge requirements before getting them. You didn't panic when we got lost for a day near Mirror lake, you just found us. I don't think it's possible today, but you just let us be boys. And you set an example for the type of men we should grow into.

Roger Kirkham

January 10, 2014

I have this very vivid memory of sitting in Wheeler Oliphant's camper with Vaughn and somebody else in a campground at Arches National Park. The wind was howling and dirt was blowing everywhere so you couldn't be outside. We were there with the youth for an outing. Vaughn was telling stories about his experiences with the youth. I don't think I have ever laughed so hard listening to his stories. I remember in particular one story he told about going river rafting with Don Rich. It was so hilarious. When I served as bishop, Vaughn was our "go-to" guy for so many things. I loved Vaughn. I valued our friendship. I will miss him. Judy joins me in extending our love to the family.

Marjorie Bills Hutchins

January 9, 2014

What a great uncle I have in Uncle Vaughn, and a special family. When I was trying to go to school and raise my little daughter, Molly, he gave over the pears on his backyard tree so I could pick and can them so we would have something in the pantry. He would be out there setting up ladders for me and telling me great stories, too. He was a respecter of persons. He always made me feel special with a warm hug and a happy hello. You were never just a kid with Vaughn, you were an important person, and I love him dearly. Now he is there with 'almost' all the family again- what a grand and happy gathering that must be-- Grandpa, Grandma, Vaughn and Dad. The thought of it all just makes me smile and think of all the good old times that we have had together.

January 9, 2014

We are grateful for the extraordinary life of serve of our friend, Vaughn Bills. His life was a special blessing in our lives and the lives of countless others and especially the scouts who were blessed to come under his stewardship as their scout master. As we are away on a mission in the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple we will not be able to express our gratitude in person but we know there will be a wonderful celebration of Vaughn's life and we express our love to his family knowing that the clouds in life are an evidence that the Light of the Lord is always there.

Love, Keith and Linda Poelman

Kim Reid

January 9, 2014

It was on our 50 mile hike summer of 1967 (my second scout camp)we hiked about 9 miles the first day;My brother T.N. and I found a pay phone in Hennifer,Utah, we called our parents collect,we begged them to come and get us that it was to hard we would never finish, after Vaughn and our dad talked on the phone, we were handed back the phone,our dad told us that the only way we were going to get home was to finish the hike even if we had to crawl home! We made home. Thanks Mr. Bills

Bret Reid

January 9, 2014

It's Vaughn who taught me how to sneeze. I'll always remember his signature "who-is-she" sneeze. Thanks for the fine example you were to generations of scouts. I trust that you will share tales from "The Lost Dutchmen Mines" for many years to come.

Kathryn MacKay Jones

January 8, 2014

DEAR BILLS FAMILY,I remember the many times my husband, Harold Jones and I took your father to visit Grayson and Loma Jones in Hyrum Utah and other times we visited with Grayson and Loma at his home. He was known as Zeke and a great friend of my brother-in-law Grayson Jones and my husband Harold Jones. We also went to Hal Bills funeral together several years ago. Grayson died already and my husband Harold Jones died February 20,2009.
May the Lord Bless you at this time. Love, Kathryn MacKay Jones.

Barry Reid

January 8, 2014

To the Bills family our thoughts and prayers are with you.
I can't thank your dad enough for all that he did for me while growing up. From being the scout master and taking us to the Grand Canyon at age 12, to allowing me to work for him at the trailer park. I will never forget his green truck, his kindness and encouragement to be the best I could be. I have told my kids for year that the goal is always just around the bend. Thanks for teaching me that Vaughn!