Obituary for Illa Jean Vaughn (Houston)
Illa J. Houston Vaughn
Aug. 29, 1937 – Feb. 4, 2018
Illa Jean Houston Vaughn, 80, of Bloomfield, was healed from her battle with Alzheimer’s as she entered the presence of her Savior, Jesus Christ on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. She was born Aug. 29, 1937, in Ranger, Texas.
Illa’s early childhood brought her family to New Mexico, where they settled in Quemado. She married her high school sweetheart, Carroll, in 1955. In her mid-20s, she returned to Texas with her husband and their three children to attend Wayland Baptist University. They would eventually move back to New Mexico, where Illa graduated with a Bachelor of Education from New Mexico Highlands University in 1969. At age 33, she began her teaching career at Moriarty Elementary School, where she excelled at developing compassionate relationships with her second-grade students. In 1976, she and Carroll moved to Vallecitos, N.M. For the next 14 years, she faithfully worked alongside her husband in their lumber business as the company bookkeeper. Upon their retirement, the couple relocated to Bloomfield, where they have lived since 1990. Though only 5’2” tall and 100 pounds, she was slightly larger than her twin sister and was affectionately nicknamed “Biggie.”
Throughout her life, Illa was an active member of her local church. She served in Vacation Bible School, was a member of the quilter’s club, the widow’s ministry and assisted Carroll in their Sunday School class. Gifted in hospitality, she continuously opened her home to friends and family. Illa also served on the advisory board of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home from 2005 until 2013.
Illa was preceded in death by her father, Hollis Houston, in 1955; and her mother, Mildred James Houston Ray, in 2014. She is survived by her devoted husband of 62 years, Carroll Vaughn, as well as their two sons, a daughter and their spouses: Hollis and Dorothy Vaughn of Virden, N.M., Alan and Sheri Vaughn of Bloomfield, and Mark and Rhonda Wright of Senoia, Ga. Additionally, Illa left behind 11 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren with whom she shared close and loving relationships. Illa is also survived by her identical twin sister, Ima McKee; her sister, Linda Gillentine; and her brother, James Houston, all of Bloomfield. Numerous nieces and nephews are left behind as well.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8 at Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington.
A funeral service for Illa will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9 at First Baptist Church of Bloomfield, 200 W. Sycamore Ave. Interment will immediately follow the services at East Hammond Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home at PO Box 629 Portales, NM 88130. Illa was dearly loved and will be missed by all who knew her.
Illa’s care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688. Those who wish to express their condolences may do so at serenityandcompany.com.