VAUGHN, Jack (1937-2014) the internationally respected hotelier who had the vision that created the Opryland Hotel as a convention destination in the mid-1970s, died Sunday at his Inglewood home.
Family members said Mr. Vaughn, 77, who had suffered from excruciating back pain for almost 30 years and had a recent diagnosis of and then surgery for bladder cancer, took his own life Sunday morning.
Mr. Vaughn's career in Nashville at Opryland Hotel — now Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center — spanned almost 25 years.
He is credited not only with the early success of the sprawling Opryland convention complex, which opened in 1977, but also with laying the foundation for Nashville's evolution as a popular and lucrative convention destination.
"When he came to town to talk to them (officials at National Life and Accident, which built the original hotel), they were going to build an Opry Motel, a couple of hundred rooms," said Terry Clements, an executive with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., who came to know Mr. Vaughn well as they worked together to promote the city.
"It was going to be a small motel to service the park and the Opry," Clements said. "He convinced them that this could be a major convention destination, something that it had never been before.
"Without him, I don't know we would have an industry today. It was Jack who made the recommendation that the hotel occupancy tax be passed so that we could raise the money to market the city" as a tourism and convention destination.
E.W. "Bud" Wendell, who was an executive at National Life and Accident Co. in those days and later became chairman of Gaylord Entertainment Co., said the early lodging plan was to build a small motor "inne" near the theme park. He said he asked his bosses "who's gonna run it?"
"They said 'you are,' and I said I was going to find the best hotel manager in the United States. I thought the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles was the best-run hotel in the country and he was the manager. Jack had a great pedigree."
Wendell said that once Mr. Vaughn agreed to be a part of the plan, he quickly saw that the small motel concept "missed the mark."
"He recognized the potential," Wendell said. "He saw that there were no facilities here. Jack brought in Mike Dimond and they were working in a trailer on the site. They said they could develop a major convention destination here, and they did."
Wendell noted that Mr. Vaughn was a "tough boss, he expected a lot, very high expectations. But I don't know of one person who worked for him who didn't just love him. He was a people person."
Mr. Vaughn was hired as the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center general manager two years before the construction began on the first 600-room phase of the property. His role expanded as the hotel grew to almost 3,000 rooms and added other hotels to its portfolio.
Mr. Vaughn retired in 1999 as president of the hospitality division for Gaylord Entertainment, which included not only the Nashville properties but the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Mr. Vaughn's leadership, knowledge of the industry and unrelenting pursuit of perfection put him at the top of his industry. Colleagues say Mr. Vaughn was recognized with some of the highest and most prestigious honors in the hotel industry, including being named International Hotelier of the Year by the American Hotel and Lodging Association in 1989.
Joe Henry, who worked with Mr. Vaughn for most of his Opryland career, noted that "Jack was a leader, a decision maker and a mentor. He mentored hundreds of people in this business, including me."
Mr. Vaughn touched much more than just his industry as he loved Nashville and was involved in numerous civic endeavors, serving as president of the Middle Tennessee Boy Scouts of America, was a longtime member of the Nashville Rotary Club and was named Nashvillian of the Year.
Mr. Vaughn began his hotel career in 1959 in Portland, Ore., with Westin Hotels, and he moved from there to manage the Continental Plaza in Chicago and then to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. A native of Portland, Mr. Vaughn was a Marine who served in Vietnam.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Ellie, and their five children.
There will be a private memorial service. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Boy Scouts of Middle Tennessee or the charity of your choice.
HODGSON, Jack N. 10/17/1938 ~ 10/30/2014 Jack N. Hodgson died Thursday, October 30, 2014 surrounded by his family. Jack was born on October 17, 1938 in Washington, D.C. to Col. Jack C. Hodgson and Natalie St. Clair Hodgson. He spent most of his early years in Ottawa, where his father was stationed as the American Air Attache; to Canada. He passed his teen years in Hanover, NH, attending Hanover High School and Deerfield Academy. As a young adult he graduated from Dartmouth College and Stanford University Business School. At Stanford, he met Barbara McGregor, and they were married in 1961. After graduating, he served 2 years in the U.S. Army. Upon completing his service, he lived briefly in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, before bringing his family to the Seattle area to work for Western International Hotels as their first Director of Development. In 1972, he started Jack N. Hodgson Co., specializing in the development and marketing of hotels and resorts. He had a great love for the outdoors and embraced the Pacific Northwest. He enjoyed boating Vancouver Island's inner passage, skiing, running marathons, playing golf and fly fishing. Team sports were another favorite and he excelled at hockey and lacrosse. Believing strongly in the value of youth sports, Jack started the lacrosse program at Bellevue High School. He served on the boards at Virginia Mason Medical Center, St. Thomas School, and the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club. Jack enjoyed organizing outdoor events with family and friends, including orienteering meets, Ski-to-Sea teams, and family pickup soccer games. Once retired, he relished his winters on the Big Island of Hawaii with the company of his many friends. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara, daughters Susan Hodgson (husband Patrick Osmon) and Wendy Hodgson, son Gregor Hodgson (wife Connie), 6 grandchildren, Bill and Seamus Carroll, Rowan and Eli Osmon, and Lindsay and Jaclyn Hodgson. The family wishes to thank all of his wonderful caregivers, both in the home and at the Gene and Irene Wockner Hospice Center in Kirkland, WA. Remembrances may be sent to your local hospice, a Boys and Girls Club, or the Dartmouth College Scholarship Fund.A Celebration of Jack's Life will be held at the Seattle Tennis Club on Friday, Nov. 7th at 2:00 PM.
BROWNING, Floyd Richard "Dick" Browning died September 18, 2014 at Timber Ridge, his home in Issaquah, WA. Richard was born August 24, 1927 in Vancouver, WA to Floyd T. and Jewell Browning. A 1945 graduate of Vancouver HS, he served in both WW II and Korea before attending the University of Washington. He retired in 1993 after 25 years with Westin Hotels. Richard is survived by his wife of 58 years, Elizabeth "Ann" Burt Browning, son Thomas Browning (Kathy Bostick), daughters Kim Robinson, Sue Murphy (John) and grandchildren, Ryan Browning, Rachel and Natalie Robinson, Jack and Bridget Murphy, his sister Shirley Balsiger (Don) in Tigard, OR and their extended family. Richard was a talented craftsman. In 1962 he designed and built the family home on Mercer Island. In retirement he enjoyed carving exotic woods, building and flying radio control airplanes. Inurnment at a later date will be held at the Congregational Church of Mercer Island Memorial Garden.
NORTH, George (NIck) passed away peacefully at Hospice in Bellingham. He leaves Valerie, his wife of 52 years, his daughter Claudia, son Greg & wife Donnie, and his 2 grandchildren Nick & Madi. He will be missed by many. Private service to be held
FISCHER, Kurt (1943-2014)
DUSTIN, Penny Flowers (1947-2014), 67: After a long battle with stroke-related illness, Penny Flowers Dustin passed away quietly at Overlake Hospital (Bellevue, WA) on March 11th having said goodbye to family and close friends on the occasion of her birthday the previous day.
WILLIAMSON, Marguerite (Margie) died suddenly in her home on 1/30/2014, she was 75. Margie was born in Seattle, WA on 7/6/'38. She was married 6/'65 to Grant Watkins who preceded her in death in '82. Married to Thomas Williamson 8/'82 who preceded her in death in '94. She was a breast cancer survivor and enjoyed 7 mos after quintuple bypass surgery. Margie was a loving mother and grandmother. She is survived by her daughters Lianne & Sandra, step-daughter Suzie (Fred) & her grandchildren Jamie, Kayla & Christopher.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Heart Institute @ Virginia Mason, Virginia Mason Foundation, PO Box 1930, Seattle, WA 98111 - in Margie's name.
Madeline McCann Hawes 72, Richmond, Texas passed away on January 27, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Robert Hawes, brother, Gary McCann, daughter, Angela Cook, son, Stephen Cook, and granddaughter, Lauren Chiba. She was predeceased by her parents; Bell and Evelyn McCann and brother; Bell F. McCann Jr. Madeline was born in Conroe, Texas on September 6, 1941 and graduated from Aldine High School. She worked as an Administrative Assistant with City Service, Astro World Hotel, and as an Executive Secretary for 23 years at the Westin Oaks Hotel. Madeline married Robert Hawes on November 25, 2000 in Tucson, Arizona, and moved with him to the Pecan Grove area in Richmond in 2006. Visitation will be on Friday, 1/31/14 from 6-8pm at Sugar Land Mortuary. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am at the Sugar Land Mortuary.