NORMAN — Gwen Atkinson Vaughan was born in Shreveport, La., on March 28, 1931, to H.B. and Velma Pierce Atkinson. She died suddenly at her home Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
Gwen received BS and MA degrees from the University of Oklahoma. She began her professional career as a counselor and teacher at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va., then social director of the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., and student activities director at OU. Gwen also served as the first dean of women at Central Florida University in Orlando, Fla., and dean of students at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.
In addition to her academic duties, Gwen was a consultant for the senior volunteer program in Seminole County, Florida. She concluded her professional career as a psychology professor, counselor and director of women’s programs at Rose State College in Midwest City.
Gwen was in demand as a speaker on various areas of psychology, including the proper care of children, senior citizens and those who found themselves facing circumstances beyond their control. One of her most popular topics focused on how individuals gained strength through basic spiritual beliefs. While she dedicated herself to understanding the different views of everyone, Gwen believed there are times to show strong support for your own beliefs.
Gwen approached each day convinced that hope would prevail over despair. She loved American novelist Saul Bellow’s comment: “Reason itself, logic, urged you to kneel and give thanks for every small sign of human kindness.” To say that Gwen and her husband, Phil, lived the good life is a huge understatement. Their relationship was one of true love, kindness and trust. They did not simply exist together, they thrived together.
Gwen was preceded in death by her parents.
She is survived by her son, Joe Cooley, and her husband, Phil Vaughan.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your church or charity of choice.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Thursday in Havenbrook Funeral Home chapel, 3401 Havenbrook St. in Norman.
Arrangements for Gwen and her family were placed in the care of the Vice family at Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman.
Online condolences may be shared at HavenbrookFuneralHome.com.
Norman Transcript, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013