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Nancy Breeden Vaughn
Service: September 15, 2017 (Friday) at 5:00 p.m.
Location: St. Patrick's Episcopal Church

Nancy Breeden Vaughn, who died of breast cancer on September 7, had several careers.

In 1969, she worked as an English teacher in a high school serving Fort Devon, Massachusetts, using literature to help students understand issues surrounding war. As an English teacher at Fairfax High School, she led her class to plan, to write, to market and to sell a short novel, “Fight for a Dream,” focusing on a high school football player and his father, a fighter pilot in Vietnam.

She received her Master’s degree from American University and later worked in Fairfax County in one of the area’s first programs for high school students with learning differences.  The program included students who had previously received no assistance.

 Later she became an advocate for women’s issues as a representative of La Leche League International protecting the right of women to choose breastfeeding in the face of the marketing of bottle feeding formulas. She also supported midwives and the right of women to choose nonmedical approaches to childbirth.  Two of her three daughters were born at home and she edited the newsletter for a home birth association.

Beginning in 1990, she became active in St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in the District of Columbia as a member of the vestry, a Sunday school teacher, and a member of the choir. She also served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a reader, a member of the women’s Bible study group, and helped direct  the annual rummage sale.

Nancy Vaughn was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Oklahoma, to the late Robert and Marion Miller Breeden of Russellville.  The daughter of the owner of a weekly newspaper, she worked on stories and had an early introduction to journalism. At the University of Oklahoma, a journalism major, she was the first woman in the history of the University to be named the editor of the University’s yearbook. She was also a member of the senior women’s honor society and Pi Beta Phi sorority. 

She was an avid reader and traveler who lived for extended periods in London, England, Kyoto, Japan, Melbourne, Australia, and San Diego, California.  She also spent several weeks on multiple occasions in Santiago, Chile and Istanbul, Turkey.  She became a travel agent in 1996 and worked in that capacity until her retirement in 2010. 

The granddaughter of pioneering Oklahomans, she was always looking forward and moving toward the next great adventure.  She described her second cancer diagnosis as a huge disappointment, but she continued to live her life with joy.

She is survived by her husband, Robert, of Bethesda, Maryland; three daughters, Amanda, Abigail, and Carrie, two grandsons, Ike and Will, two granddaughters, Claire and Ola Mae, two sons-in-laws, Geoff and Mark, all of New York City; a sister, Carolyn McLellan, of Russellville, Arkansas, and several nieces and nephews. 

She was an intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and caring person who joked that she wanted her epitaph to read: “If only they had listened to me.” 

The funeral service will be held at 5:00 p.m. on September 15 at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway, NW, Washington, D.C..  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church or to Planned Parenthood. 

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