Ralph “Fatsy” Vaughn, 93, passed away on January 23, 2020 after collapsing inside his apartment in Richfield, ID. He was preparing to go get his regular cup of morning joe down at the Little Wood Saloon and had just started his van to warm it up. Instead, he dropped to the floor and left his apartment the way he always wanted: feet first!
Fatsy was born on November 13, 1926, to Louis R. Vaughn and Flora M. Holmes in Deer Park, WA. He earned his life-long moniker from suckling too long at his mother’s breast, hence the name Fatsy. He was the second youngest of 7 siblings (2 girls and 5 boys). The family moved in 1929 to a ranch 7 miles outside of Richfield in a land swap deal. Fatsy was the Student Body and Senior Class President when he graduated early in 1945. He immediately enlisted in the Army to help fight in WWII. The day he left San Diego on a naval ship bound for the Philippines, the armistice ending the war was signed. Arriving a month later, he spent his time there as an ambulance driver. He got out of the army in December 1946.
Returning back to Idaho, Fatsy held a variety of jobs during his many decades of work: truck driver, telephone lineman, rural electrification contractor, ranch hand, and river water master. His biggest claim to fame was when he was chosen as the poster child for a calendar fundraiser for the Richfield Riding Club that sponsors Outlaws Days. Fatsy posed for photos in and around the town primarily clothed only in Depends (borrowed, of course). Each month had a special theme. The respectable picture above is June’s “Back in the Saddle.” Fatsy was 78 when these were taken in 2005 and included one on a telephone pole. More than $2,000 was raised that year with the calendar sales. Fatsy was also chosen as the grand marshal and he loved every minute of it.
Fatsy was a very unique individual. He was a life-long bachelor and had no children… that we know of. Quietly stubborn and doggedly independent, no one could tell Fatsy what to do. He would stop you dead in your tracks with his, “NO.” Yet, he was a kind soul who would give you the shirt off his back. And up until the day he died, he had a quick, sharp, wicked sense of humor. He loved to laugh and kept the rest of us in stitches. You never asked his opinion unless you wanted brutal honesty. He was never mean; he would just tell you the absolute, unvarnished truth. He also had a life-long love of women, booze, smokes and probably most of the 7 deadly sins (just kidding). Never get between him and his crossword puzzle or his pool stick. Both kept him young at heart. He was a Richfield icon and institution… and a threat on the road as he took his almost daily drive into the country, many times on the wrong side of the road. In spite of it all, he is sorely missed. He was the last of that hearty Vaughn gene pool, raised in the ruggedness of harsh farm life during the Depression. RIP.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Doris (Schied), Louie (Louis), Tom (Thomas), Reta (Loreta Himes), Morris (Maurice), and Elly (Eldon); and several nieces and nephews. He is survived by 15 nieces and nephews and their families.
There will be a graveside service August 8, 2020 at 11 am at the Richfield Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will continue at the American Legion Hall afterwards. During Covid-19, we ask that you stay home if sick. Please socially distance while outside and bring a mask for inside… unless you prefer to party with Fatsy sooner than later. There will also be an amazing tribute to him with a slide show afterwards.
Memories and condolences may be shared on Fatsy’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.