John Patrick “Jack” Gaughan, 76, of Billings, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, surrounded by his loving family.
Jack was born on Dec. 5, 1942, in Butte. He was the third of five children born to William and Margaret Gaughan. Upon graduation from Butte High in 1960, Jack joined the United States Air Force. He was based at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he was a small engine mechanic. It was there that he met the love of his life, Sharon Vaughn of Dexter, Missouri. They were married on June 27, 1964. They were blessed with four children: Sandy, Cindy, Sherri and Mark.
Once discharged from the Air Force, Jack and Sharon moved to Butte. He was employed by the Anaconda Company until he joined the Montana Highway Patrol in 1968. His first post was in Wolf Point. In 1970, he was transferred to Sidney. That is where they remained and raised their family until 1986, with the exception of one year in Columbia Falls. During his time in Sidney, he wore many hats. He, along with Sharon and the kids, built six houses. He had a spraying service, taught CCD, was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, he coached and was always available to anyone in need. With each promotion came a move. They moved back and forth between Glendive and Billings, and eventually settled in Billings, where he retired as Captain in 1995. After retirement, he built a house in Billings for his daughter Cindy with her husband Mark. Once that was finished, rather than sit around, he bought a semi and drove over the road for the next seven years. During this time, he and Sharon split their time between Montana and Missouri.
Jack enjoyed golf, singing, fixing things, anything, construction, playing dice with his brothers-in-law and above all, family. His love of God and family extended well beyond his bloodlines. Anyone who ever came to their home lost or searching always left knowing they were loved. He is Papa Jack to too many to count. One of the greatest joys in his life were his grandkids and great-grandkids. He was just as excited about each new addition to the family as he was for the first one. He did his very best to be a loving, fun presence in each of their lives. Papa or PJ to the grandkids and Big Jack to the greats.
Jack is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sharon; daughters Sandy (Steve) Kelly, Minot, North Dakota, Cindy (Mark) Berzel, Billings, Sherri Hardy, Glendale, Arizona; son Mark (Mary), Billings; grandchildren Matt (Ann) Kelly, Amanda (Dane) Bekkedahl, Melissa (TJ) Lawrence, Kaitlyn (Matt) Vitt, Timothy Hurley, Michael Berzel, Hannah Hardy, Connor Gaughan, Christopher Berzel, Olivia (Brennan) Nielson, Ellie Gaughan; great-grandchildren Aidan, Jack, Miles, Kennedy, Iselyn, Emersyn, Scarlett, Cullen, Evelyn, Rhett and Ford. Also, two more on the way that we’re sure he’s already loving on.
He is also survived by his sisters Rosemary Yavarow, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and Nonie (Ted) Bisch, Butte; his brothers-in-law Jerry, Ronnie and Randy Vaughn; sisters-in-law Barbara (Jeff) Davis, Rose Champion, Betty Horn; and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents Bill and Margaret Gaughan; in-laws Arthur and Ruby Vaughn; brother Bill Gaughan; sister Peg Edgell; brothers-in-law Tom Edgell, Bud Vaughn, Gene Vaughn, Larry Vaughn, Lee Vaughn, Dale Vaughn; sister-in-law Diane Link; and, most recently, his beloved granddaughter, Alyxandra Hurley. He was in a hurry to get to heaven to take care of her.
Visitation will be from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., with a vigil service at 7 p.m., preceded by recitation of the rosary at 6:15 p.m.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 2055 Woody Drive, followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at St. Thomas Parish Center.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to: Montana Hope Project, PO Box 5927, Helena, MT 59604.