Joyce Houze Vaughn left her earthly life for eternal life on Friday, January 7, 2022, surrounded by family. She was 91.

Joyce was known and loved by many because of her bright personality and ability to connect with people, which held true through her final days.

She was born in Indianapolis to Bonnie Cale and Chester Houze and shortly thereafter the family moved to Dalton, Ga. There she eventually met the love of her life, William Wesley (Wes) Vaughn, who was working on assignment with Dixie Yarns. They were married for 56 years until his passing in 2010.

Both Joyce and Wes lost their parents early in life, leading to challenging childhood experiences. Still, they built their own loving family, successfully raising four sons along the way in the Brainerd community. The Vaughns also grew quite an extended family of children with their sons’ friends, as their home and hearts were always open.

Joyce loved her sons and family fiercely. She was the original Momma Bear – the dictionary may even have her picture beside the definition. Some also aptly described her as a “force of nature.” Her favorite nickname was “Nana,” which she wore proudly.

Joyce was hard-working. That was true at home, which at times ran with military precision, but also in helping support the family, as she always had a job (sometimes, two) to help clothe and feed four growing boys.

For many years, she was “the voice of T.C. Thompson’s Children’s Hospital” as its switchboard operator. She also excelled at helping customers at J.C. Penney’s and Loveman’s department stores. She later worked in office administration for several local physicians’ practices, earning her the family tag of “Dr. Vaughn,” as she remarkably applied those experiences to unofficially diagnose the occasional malady. Long before side hustle was a term, she was a sought-after seamstress who made everything from custom dresses to suits to costumes for school plays.

Joyce has been reunited with her husband Wes and son Dale, who both died in 2010, as well as her brother Edmund Houze. She will rest with Wes at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

She is survived by sons Skip (Marty) Vaughn, Ken (Kathy) Vaughn and Roy (Laura) Vaughn and daughter-in-law Linda (Dale) Vaughn; grandchildren include Keith (Melissa) Vaughn, Jordan (Emma) Vaughn, Taylor Vaughn, Patrick (Bailey) Vaughn, Phillip Vaughn, Geoffrey (Robbie) Vaughn, Anna (Clifford) Barbee and Carrie Vaughn; and a great grandson Everett Vaughn.

Joyce was an active member of Brainerd United Methodist Church and the Friendship Class since 1956, though she was unable to attend in recent years. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in remembrance be

made in her name to Brainerd United Methodist Church (

Services will be privately held.

Please share memories or condolences with the family at

The family thanks the staff of NHC Chattanooga and Hearth Hospice for their compassionate care of our Mom and Nana.

Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.