Retired deputy recalled as leader

WARREN – Many friends, former colleagues and acquaintances of Darby Vaughn agreed they would be hard-pressed to find someone – anyone – who could say something bad about the retired Trumbull County deputy sheriff.

“You could laugh and have a good time with him. But when it came time to get down to business, get the job done and get serious, he was the man. He was a pro,” remarked Jolene Marcello, a detective with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office.

”But at the same time, he was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He knew everyone. Everyone knew Darby. He was respected. He knew how to treat people,” Marcello said.

Marcello worked with Vaughn more than 10 years – riding in the same vehicle, transporting prisoners to and from court and working cases with the veteran deputy. She said news of his passing hit many people in the community hard.

Vaughn died Sunday at Trumbull Memorial Hospital from an extended illness. He was 74.

Vaughn, a Warren resident, worked for the county sheriff’s office some 36 years before retiring in 2000.

Randy Miller, who attended Grace A.M.E. church with Vaughn, described his friend as a man who loved people.

“He loved his family, his church, his lodge, his community. If there was a way he could help you, in any situation, he would. People would call him all hours of the night asking for help. People would call him and say, ‘My son is in trouble, my son was arrested, can you help us in anyway?’ People would get in trouble and they’d call Darby,” Miller said.

But not because he would get you out of that trouble. Rather, he would help you get through it, Miller said.

Miller had known Vaughn since childhood.

Vaughn was born Dec. 24, 1939, in Warren. He graduated from Warren G. Harding High School, and at the age of 19 joined the U.S. Army.

He worked as a bricklayer engineer while at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and then was sent with the 18th Engineering Co. to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was stationed at the Ladd Air Force Base, which became Fort Wainwright. Vaughn was among the soldiers stationed in Fairbanks when Alaska officially became a state. Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on Jan. 3, 1959.

In October, he told a Tribune Chronicle reporter, ”It was a celebration when that happened. It was good to know that it had become a part of the United States. Knowing it became a state and I was on foreign soil before it officially became a state was something I was always proud to be part of.”

While in Alaska, he was also on the ski patrol and on the Honor Guard. He did masonry and construction work in Alaska, digging ditches, bridge work and constructing buildings. In his free time, he went hunting and skiing, and played football.

After leaving Alaska, Vaughn went to be in the Army Reserves from 1962 to August 1965, often going to Columbus to attend monthly training sessions. He received his honorable discharge from Alaska in 1962.

When Vaughn left the military he got married, had children and worked for Warren Sanitation Department, F.W. Woolworth, Thomas Steel and then Pendelton Co. on Griswold Street in Warren.

He also worked for the federal government for two years, in the juvenile court for two years, and then worked for as a youth leader in the Cleveland Boys School and the Ohio Boys School in Solon.

Vaughn came back to Warren when his mother became ill to take care of her, and soon worked for the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office in the detective and juvenile divisions as a deputy. During his last 10 to 15 years as a deputy, he worked at the courthouses, often escorting prisoners to court.

“He taught me a lot. He taught me the ropes. He was one of a kind, that’s for sure,” Marcello said. ”There are so many different stories, so many examples of what kind of man he was that it’s hard to just point out one or a couple. He was strong and a man of integrity and yet so caring and giving.

”He ran the show,” she said. ”They would call him from all over, from criminals to the judges and prosecutors to deputies to everyone on the street, the joe publics. He would be asked to go quiet a crowd. He was at every capital murder case.

”He taught me the ropes, how to deal with people, even on the road. He was definitely a leader. He led the pack for a lot of years. He will be missed,” Marcello said.

Miller said Vaughn never let his position go to his head.

“He was like the chief. He could lead, but he was also a good friend all. It’s just a shame to see him go. It’s hard to let a good man like that go. A lot of people will miss him. I know I will.”