Nashville loses an icon

The news hit me hard yesterday… not because I knew him personally, but because of who he was, and how he died…

Jack Vaughn

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2014/11/09/opryland-hotel-figure-jack-vaughn-dies/18778475/

Two words are synonymous with Nashville tourism – Jack Vaughn.

Those of us who live here tend to get complacent, and immune to the fact that people from all over the world come to Nashville – for the music, for the food, for the shopping, for the entire experience. That experience is what Jack Vaughn imagined, back in the days when the Opryland property was only a tract of dirt. A visionary, a good business man, a kind and compassionate person, he literally changed the face of Nashville.

Opryland Hotel

I worked for Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of the Opryland hotel, and though our department served all of the Gaylord companies, I never had a personal encounter with Mr. Vaughn. But in all my years there, I never heard one person utter a harsh word about him. How could they? He treated EVERY employee, from the housekeepers to the board members, with the respect they deserved. He called employees by their name, and when he had time, would engage them in conversations.

When I worked there, there was a strong sense of family. I believe that part of that feeling came from the CEO, Bud Wendell. I actually had several interesting, personal conversations with Bud, and his warmth carried over to the entire company. He and Mr. Vaughn created an atmosphere of kindness and caring. Things have certainly changed at the company in recent years, but as anyone who worked there back in the day will tell you, when Mr. Vaughn was in charge, it was a great place to work.

I can’t begin to comprehend what Mr. Vaughn’s family is going through, and the immense loss they must feel. The days ahead will be difficult, for them and for all those who loved him.

If there’s a lesson in all this, it’s that we never know what someone is going through. Like Robin Williams, we can assume that someone’s life is going well, but unless we’re in the trenches with them, we can’t know how much they hurt…

To honor Mr. Vaughn, let’s try to be more kind and compassionate towards one another. We don’t know the burdens someone carries, and maybe a smile, or a kind word or gesture can make that burden a little lighter, if only for a moment…

Mr. Vaughn had big ideas, and he dreamed big. When you look around our fair city, think of him, and his family. We are who we are because of him.

EG's photo downtown Nashville with copyright

Thank you, Mr. Vaughn. Your legacy lives on….

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One thought on “Nashville loses an icon

  1. Beautiful tribute, Sunny! I hope you will make sure Miss Ellie gets a copy or link to this; I am sure she would appreciate having it.

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