Hal & Lynn Vaughn: Practice What You Preach Personified

She’s a California girl. Lynn Vaughn’s grandparents operated a large orange grove near San Bernardino. Part of her early life was listening to the frost report at 8 pm to learn whether they would have to smudge that night.

He’s a Seattle boy, born and raised near Rainier Valley. Hal used a clerical job at Seattle First National Bank to pay his way through courses at the University of Washington. The bank got a pretty good deal too. Hal stayed there for 25 years or so before moving to another bank in Bellingham. All told, he says his years in the banking industry add up to “forever.”

You know them best as Lions. Judging from a visit to their Bellingham home, that also may be the skin they’re most comfortable in themselves — at least if his and her Lions dens are any indication. Hal’s overflows with stuffed Lions and pins and patches collected from around the world. Lynn’s collects dust (her own assessment). My own inspection verified that the walls in both dens are filled with too many service awards to list.

Of course being a strong Lion sometimes involves sacrifices — like consenting to an interview and enduring this story when you prefer a low profile. We convinced Lynn that this is her duty as a member of the Northwest Lion’s Endowment Board. Perhaps that’s the best indication of all of who Hal and Lynn Vaughn are — servers.

How they met

A family friend from Germany told Lynn that jobs are really just an excuse to travel to new places you wanted to see anyway. So in 1956 she left her insurance job in San Francisco and came to Seattle, where she found work in a clerical office at Seattle First National Bank. You probably guessed this next part. The path to a life of travel ended right in that office, blocked by the desk of one Hal Vaughn. “A co-worker told me that Hal was a definite catch,” Lynn remembers, “and she was only sharing the news with me because she was already married.” Their first date was dinner at Ivars, and they were married in December of 1957.

How they serve

She’s married to a bank executive; she’s the daughter of a bank executive, and her degree from Stanford University is in finance. Small wonder Lynn jokes of having served in every imaginable financial post that MD19 has to offer. Wait a minute … maybe she isn’t joking.

Hal has pushed a pencil or two on behalf of Lions organizations himself. He preceded Lynn on the Foundation’s Endowment Board and has long sought to build broad support within MD19 for community-backed programs like the Lions Hearing Aid Bank, Lions Patient Care Grants, and the Lions Health Screening Unit.

How they live

Their home in Bellingham with the dual Lions dens sits on a point that juts into Lake Whatcom. Luxury amenities pretty much start and end with the view. Modest in size, the house itself is dwarfed by the mansion next door. Inside, pine walls and big windows give a summer cottage feel upgraded for comfortable living.

How they give

Quietly. Smart.

You could say Hal and Lynn knew the ropes when they gave a bequest of Horizon Bank stock to the Northwest Lions Endowment in December 2007 to support charitable sight and hearing projects in MD19.

Hal’s career in banking led him through a series of increased responsibilities in the trust departments of regional banks. He retired from his last position as head of the trust department at Horizon Bank in Bellingham with a keen appreciation of the power of bequests. With a little planning and the right advice, they can take care of loved ones and provide unending support for chosen charitable causes.

Lynn’s involvement with bequests started as a young adult when her father included her in decisions about who to support with bequests from a family trust fund established by her grandparents. She is still active in that trust and now seeks opportunities to involve her own children in its operation.

For Hal and Lynn, the bequest to the Northwest Lions Endowment was a chance not just to help but to use their banking and life experiences to earmark a trail for others to follow.

What they want you to know

Bequests are both highly appreciated and needed to build the Northwest Lions Endowment into a wellspring of funding for community programs.

Even if you already have a will, it may be time to look at updates that can generate income while you’re living or provide for loved ones when you’re gone.

Leave it to the ever-practical Lynn to summarize an additional good reason to consider having a professional evaluate your will for compatibility with your current financial situation and goals: “There’s a lot of merit,” she says, “in giving it away before the government gets it.”