Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 18, 2017, pg. 12
Recently another memoir of a famous Albion person has been published with an unusual title. "Kill the Gringo, The Life of Jack Hood Vaughn" recalls the life of this 1939 graduate of Albion High School. Jack (1920-2012) learned the sport of boxing while growing up here in Albion during the 1930s, and after serving in World War II, later went on to become U.S. Ambassador to Columbia, and Panama. He also was the second director of the U.S. Peace Corps, and served as an Assistant U.S. Secretary of State. I wrote about Jack in the November 18, 2012 edition of this column.
We are fortunate that Jack was inducted as an Albion High School Distinguished Alumni in 2006. At that event banquet, Jack related to us the "Kill the Gringo" story in his life. It is found in his memoir on page 55 where you may read about it yourself.
Jack had been working on his memoir for many years, but never actually completed it. Most of the book is about his dealings with various political figures and events around the world during his long career. His daughter Jane has taken the past several years compiling the chapters from difference sources about Jack’s life and having it published. The book is soft-cover, 389 pages long. It is published by Rare Bird Books of Los Angeles, CA. ISBN 9781945572173. The book is now available online, or can be ordered at various book stores.
Tom Brokow of NBC writes, "Before there was Indiana Jones there was Jack Hood Vaughn, the fearless Peace Corps executive plunging into some of the most dangerous territory on earth to spread the story of American values. Jack’s life story is at once inspirational and terrifying, such a compelling combination for this modest man who looked like a country doctor and lived like a poster for a Harrison Ford movie."
Chapter 2 deals with Jack’s early life, including growing up in Albion and the beginnings of his boxing career. One of his close friends growing up here in Albion that Jack writes about in his memoir was George A. "Shooey" Schumacher, Jr. (AHS ’40) whom he paled around with. Jack relates, (Pg. 49) "When not boxing or working as a farm hand, I developed my own side business as a muskrat trapper. My good friend George "Shooey" Schumacher and I set up trap lines along the Kalamazoo River…On a good week we’d catch four muskrats, throw the carcasses over our shoulders, and jog the several miles back to my house. We skinned them and stretched the skins on a wooden shingle. The local junk dealer was our best and only customer; we sold our skins to him for a couple of dollars each."
From our Historical Notebook this week we present the cover of "Kill the Gringo." I hope you will obtain this book for your library. There definitely is some Albion material in this book, and I know some of my readers to this column either knew Jack or had met him. Be sure and order a copy of this book for your library.
Jack Hood Vaughn's book cover
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic