Obituary for Vaughn R. Shoemaker
May 25, 1929 through April 13, 2019
Dick was born in Chicago but when his family lost their home in the depression, he spent much of his childhood in Michigan. He attended Wheaton Academy where he most notably met Sylvia, the woman he would soon fall in love with and marry a few years later. Over the course of their 68 year marriage they were blessed with five children; Becky, Debbie, Tim, Dan, and Matt. From there his family grew to include sons and daughters-in-law, fourteen grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
Dick served in the US Navy from 1950 through 1955. He had a keen knowledge of Lake Michigan, and was credited with saving a Navy vessel he served on from running aground during a dense and deadly fog.
In the early fifties he began working for his father-in-law at Skrudland Photo Service. He and Sylvia later bought one of the locations and with the help of dedicated personnel, the business grew. He showed that a man could build a successful business—and still be honest and maintain integrity. Over the years, he inserted a Gospel Tract in each photo order so that he could be a witness and help to the customers that brought him business. He ran the business until he retired in 1995, then continued to help his son in business.
One of his favorite pastimes was to spend time out on the water on his boat. Having grown up sailing Lake Michigan from the time he was a young boy, being behind the wheel of a boat brought a particular joy and freedom to him. He would spend hours circling Lake Geneva, often with a boat full of his family and their friends out to waterski. Handy with tools and armed with creativity, Dick enjoyed building birdhouses and model trains.
Dick was the kind of Dad that was always there for his kids—even when it wasn’t convenient. He painted, patched, repaired as much as any man—and more than many. He was the kind of Dad who was always ready to give a hand—just when you needed it most.
Dick was heavily involved in the local church his whole life. In his younger years he played in the Salvation Army Band and later spent many years serving as a Sunday School teacher and Deacon at Bethel Community Church in Chicago.
More than just a church attender, throughout his life Dick maintained a strong faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. Truly, he strove to live out his faith—and lived out Joshua 24:15 … “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Dick had a lonely—and often rough childhood. But by God’s grace, his past didn’t define his future. He grew to be a wonderful Christian “family man” in every way.
Please send memorials to Bethel Community Church instead of flowers.
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