Luva "Lu" Vaughan
Luva D. “Lu” Vaughan
July 27, 1932/May 29, 2018
Luva D. “Lu” Vaughan, 85, of Independence, Mo. and Rancho Mirage, Calif., passed away peacefully on May 29, 2018, at Monterey Park Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Independence. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2018, at the Carson-Speaks Chapel, 1501 W. Lexington Ave., Independence, Mo. 64052. A Celebration of Life service will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 9, 2018, Maywood Baptist Church, 10505 W. Winner Rd., Independence, Mo. 64052. Internment with Military Honor Guard will be immediately following the service at the Vaughan Family Mausoleum, Mount Washington Cemetery, 614 S. Brookside Avenue, Independence, Mo. 64053.
Born in Texas, Lu moved to Missouri in 1955 after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. It was here that he and his wife Dorothy (Dottie) raised their son, David, until her death in 1984. Following his graduation from Central Technical Institute, Lu’s entrepreneurial skills flourished. He started his career in theater management and later owned and operated several fast-food restaurants. In 1964 he founded the Mid-America Cinema Corporation, which opened its first theatre, the I-70 Drive-In in July of that year. Over the next 22 years the company grew to include 70 movie screen theaters in Missouri, Kansas, Ohio and Colorado. He was a member of the United Motion Picture Association, serving two terms as its president, and he was on the board of the National Association of Theater Owners. He also served two-terms as president of the Variety Club International of Kansas City.
In 1972, Lu took another step forward when he formed Jackson County CATV Systems, the first cable-tv company in Jackson County. He served on its executive committee until he sold the business in 1981. Lu was a major investor in the redevelopment of the Independence Square. He served on several local boards and commissions including the Independence Tourism Advisory Board, the Missouri Tourism Commission, the Independence Industrial Development Authority, the Independence Chamber of Commerce, the Independence Public Utilities Advisory Board, and president of the Independence Square Redevelopment Group. Lu was a director of Standard State Bank and Bank IV of Independence for 20 years.
Lu’s passion for politics and travel led to his meeting a like-minded Missouri State Representative Carole Roper Park. Their shared interests sparked a budding relationship in 1986 that resulted in an “Around-the-World” romance and wedding in Las Vegas in 2000. Lu and Carole were often in California with friends they met on their world tour. They purchased homes next door in the Mission Hills community of Rancho Mirage, where they became active in the Palm Springs area and entertained friends from Missouri over the years.
Lu helped shape the public agenda as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in Washington, DC, in 1980. He was elected to two four-year terms on the National Democratic Committee from 1988-1996 where he worked with leaders Ron Brown, former Secretary of Commerce, and Chris Dodd, former United State Senator from Connecticut.
Lu’s civic involvement masked his quiet and often anonymous philanthropic support of many organizations. He served on the board of the Ozanam Home for Boys, the advisory board of the Sunshine Center School and on the Mount Washington Cemetery Board of Trustees. Lu was a supporter of Hope House, the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, the Bingham Waggoner Historical Society and a founding member of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation. He was a member of the Maywood Baptist Church.
Lu was a member of the Kansas City Club, Lakewood Oaks Golf Club, and Mission Hills Golf Club, Rancho Mirage, Calif. He loved to golf in his spare time and studying the stock market was a “fun” activity as well! Lu was a founding member of the Midwest Enterprises Investment Club.
Most important to Lu was his family whom he cared for greatly. He was especially close to his granddaughter, Erica, and his great-grandson Dominick, whom he doted on in his later years.
Lu is survived by his wife Carole, son David (Penny), grandchildren Erica Vaughan, Michael Vaughan and Daniel Vaughan, great-grandson Dominick Vaughan, step-daughter Jennifer Distefano, step-grandchildren Nichole Beier (Ryan), Lindsay Jackson, and Josh Jackson (Laura), step-great-grandchildren Jack Roper Beier and Evelyn Jackson, two brothers Wilbert Vick (Thena), C.V. Vick (Ann), and one sister Sandra Saunders (Jim). Lu was predeceased by his parents, his first wife Dottie, and his brother, Jess Loftin.
The family would like to extend its deep gratitude to Lu’s caregivers: Pam Andrews, Alma Brock, Stacy Chandler, Mary Kay Little, Carole McManus, and Susie Sauter; and to the staff at Monterey Park and the long-term care unit at Truman Medical Center-Lakewood.
The family kindly requests donations in Lu’s memory be made to Cornerstones of Care-Ozanam Campus, Attn: Development, 300 E. 36th St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; Truman Library Institute, 5151 Troost Ave., Ste. 300, Kansas City Mo. 64110; or to Variety Kansas City, P.O. Box 3446, Shawnee, Kan. 66203.