Devoted wife, mother, grandmother, educator, crossword lover, eternal optimist. Born March 2, 1931, in Sarnia, Ont. Died March 6, 2012, in Owen Sound, Ont., of a rare neurological disease, aged 81.
Born Catherine Marie Campbell, Marie was the second of Margaret and Ernest Campbell’s four children. Raised on a farm, she learned the value of hard work from an early age, picking garden produce and preparing chickens to sell at the local market. As she got older, Marie had a variety of jobs outside the home as well.
Those who knew Marie understood her personal philosophy: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Marie’s mind and body were rarely at rest. Even in her late 70s, “working out” at Curves and completing a daily crossword were part of her routine. She had passion and purpose for everything she did, and assumed everyone else should too.
Marie’s love of school and learning led her to teacher’s college after high school. During her first teaching assignment, in Sarnia, she met Rev. Joseph (Joe) Vaughan, a minister who taught religious studies at the school. A romance blossomed, and in 1953 they exchanged vows. Marie’s high energy level complemented Joe’s more reserved demeanour, and she often said they made “a good team.” Marie was required to resign from her much-loved teaching position after she married, so during early family life she was devoted to raising three daughters (Cathy, Caroline and Lynne) and supporting Joe in his ministry.
After moving to Owen Sound in the early 1960s, Marie set her sights on obtaining a BA, which she completed in 1973 through the University of Western Ontario. She also re-entered the teaching profession and enjoyed a long and rewarding career, remembered for her caring, positive manner with students, parents and colleagues.
After retiring in 1988, she joined the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario and held executive positions including a two-year term as provincial president. She received the Cora Bailey Award for her outstanding contribution to the organization.
Marie would do anything for her family and friends. Attending her grandchildren’s dance recitals, horse shows, hockey games and graduations – whether near or far – was a priority. Her home on Georgian Bay was often buzzing with family and friends sharing a delicious meal (her turkey dinners and homemade pies were favourites), playing a game of bridge or Scrabble, or sewing a quilt.
Marie was the “designated driver” for many of her aging friends, and it didn’t faze her if a reluctant driver needed a lift to Toronto for a medical appointment. Doing for others always took priority over doing the housework.
Soon after Joe’s death in 2008, Marie’s health deteriorated and she was eventually diagnosed with a rare neurological condition – corticobasal degeneration. Over a three-year period, the disease robbed Marie of her independence and she went from managing in her own home to complete dependence in a nursing home, bedridden, unable to feed herself or speak.
Marie, the eternal optimist, never once complained about the cards she was dealt. She died peacefully with the family she loved by her side.
Joanna Nicholson is Marie’s granddaughter.