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James Vaughn Bolton

James Vaughn Bolton James Vaughn Bolton, age 92, passed away at the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community on February 21, 2018. Vaughn was born February 22, 1925 to Reverend Jonathan and Fern (Hobson) Bolton of Axtell, Kansas. He attended Waterville Kansas High School and graduated from Kansas State University in 1951 with a Bachelor degree in Journalism. Vaughn served in the Navy during WW2 and played trumpet in the Navy band. He retired from Civil Service in the Public Relations Department and then served as manager of Garden Grove Apartments. He is well known for over 55 years as the leader of The Vaughn Bolton Orchestra which was later known as Vaughn and the Magnificent Seven. While a band leader, Vaughn was proud of the fact that he employed hundreds of musicians through the years, many of whom depended on Vaughn's efforts as a band leader to supplement their incomes and in the case of college students, their much needed college funds. Vaughn seemed to be driven by helping musicians and especially young musicians. He was also driven by his love of pure jazz music and could talk about jazz for hours with anyone that would listen to what he felt was an art that needed to be promoted. Vaughn also served for many years as President of Musicians Union Local 169 which further cemented his legacy as a friend, advocate and leader of local and regional musicians. Obviously Vaughn was dedicated to musicians and live music. Manhattan and the State of Kansas are a better place because of Vaughn's musical influence.

He was united in marriage to Betty Jean Grace in 1949. They later divorced. From this union three sons and a daughter were born: John (Renee) Bolton of Lenexa, Kansas, James "Jimbo" Bolton (deceased), Tom (Kate) Bolton of Manhattan, Kansas and Katie (Allan) Hartog of Las Vegas, Nevada.

He later married Opal Hedren who passed away in 2009. He is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Betty, his former wife Betty, his former wife Opal, his son James and his grandson Brett. Over his life he was blessed with six grandchildren: Bryan Bolton (Seattle, WA), Jessica Bolton (San Diego, CA), Brett Bolton (deceased), Mitchell Bolton (Lenexa, KS), Adam Donne (Kalamazoo, MI), Amy Donne (Boca Raton, FL).

Services include a Celebration of Life Gathering at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS, on Friday March 2 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM with a private graveside inurnment to follow for immediate family with Reverend Dr. Dennis L. Ackerman officiating at Riverside Cemetery, Waterville, Kansas.

The family requests any donations be made to the Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools Foundation for the Band Program. Contributions may be left in care of the funeral home.

Condolences can be made to the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

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