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A Celebration of the life of Gene Vaughn Morrison will be held at 3:00 P.M. at the First Baptist Church, 1717 4th Avenue, in Canyon on Thursday, November 8, 2018.Private burial will be in Dreamland Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at Brooks Chapel.
Long time Canyon resident and civic leader, Gene Vaughn Morrison, died Friday, November 2, 2018. Gene Vaughn was born in Canyon, Texas in 1953 and worked tirelessly for the betterment of his Canyon community, the great State of Texas, and for these United States. Gene Vaughn was active in the fine arts community of Canyon from a young age. Under the tutelage of Mrs. Margaret Harper, Mr. Royal Brantley, and Mr. and Mrs. William A. Moore, Gene Vaughn developed a profound talent and deep appreciation for music and vocal performance. He attended West Texas State University and majored in Music. During his college summers, Gene Vaughn could be found performing, singing, dancing, and was the Rider on the Rim at the TEXAS Musical Drama, held at the Pioneer Amphitheatre located in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Upon graduation, Gene Vaughn went on to teach music at Austin Junior High School in Amarillo, Texas.
In 1992, Gene Vaughn was appointed by President Bill Clinton to work in the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development’s Special Actions Office. In that role, Gene Vaughn spearheaded the federal government’s response to devastating floods in the Midwest, housing crises in rural America, and the desegregation of public and assisted housing in communities across the US, including areas where some residents violently opposed desegregation.
In 1995, Gene Vaughn was tasked, by then Governor George Bush, to be the Director of Special Projects for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs; and, later, the State Lease Officer at the Texas Building and Procurement Commission. During his time in these roles, Gene Vaughn coordinated rural housing and development efforts, developed public/private partnerships for the benefit of low and moderate income families in underserved credit areas, and served on the State of Texas Department of Emergency Management Response Team.
During his time in Washington, Austin, and in the decades since, political leaders from across the US, and across the political spectrum, sought out Gene Vaughn for his insight and acumen on difficult issues. The positive impact he had on government, and most importantly on how government treats and respects citizens, is still felt today.
He is best remembered for his lifelong commitment to the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation and the TEXAS Musical Drama. Gene Vaughn’s love of the Foundation and TEXAS was unmatched. Gene Vaughn served as a board member for many years, facilitating the implementation of necessary agendas to insure that the cast and crew had everything they needed to present the very best performance each and every night. After his years of service on the board, Gene Vaughn continued to remain a stable and dedicated presence at performances, parades, activities, dinners, and events of the Show and the Foundation. Gene Vaughn received a Golden Nail Award for his volunteer work with the Foundation.
Gene Vaughn’s passions didn’t end with governmental service and the fine arts. He was also a dedicated public servant and volunteer for a variety of civic and community minded endeavors throughout his life including but not limited to: the Humane Society; Potter, Randall, and Oldham Counties Sheriff Department Volunteer Officer; member of Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Organization; member of Canyon City Masonic Lodge Number 730; member of the planning committee for the WTAMU Veteran’s War Memorial; and, countless other philanthropic activities. He was an active member of No Boundaries Sunday School Class of the First Baptist Church of Canyon at the time of his death.
Gene Vaughn is survived by his son, John David and wife Kaylee Anne, Cheri Morrison, Maria Moore, and countless close friends and family members throughout the world.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the West Texas A&M University Foundation, WTAMU PO Box 60766, Canyon, Texas 79016, where the Gene Vaughn Morrison Memorial Scholarship will be established. Additionally, Gene Vaughn would likely take this time to encourage all of you to become members of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation; and, to head out next summer season to see the TEXAS Musical Drama!