It is with great sadness that the family of Charles Tobin Vaughan, ‘Toby’, announces his death, unexpectedly, on March 26th at the age of 67, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.
Toby was born and raised in Peterborough, and graduated from UNH with a degree in fisheries biology. He then joined the United States Peace Corps and was posted to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There he lived and worked in a remote village in the Bandundu region, training farmers to build ponds and raise tilapia, then serving as volunteer leader and trainer for several years.
Toby remained in the DRC for 36 more years, and had a colorful career. Though he worked principally in the development sector, his contracts were interspersed with stints as a cattle rancher, chicken farmer, and diamond miner. Promoting democracy and working on the front lines of development was Toby’s life’s work.
Employed since 1997 by Development Alternatives International (DAI) in leadership roles for some of USAID’s most important governance and stability programs, he directed programming in nearly every region, most recently serving as Chief of Party of the USAID Integrated Governance Activity. Fluent in French and several local languages, he was the go-to person for project teams throughout the country. He was consulted regularly and often by USAID and the US Embassy when they needed expert analysis of an issue.
Acting Director, USAID-DRC, Alisa Cameron, in a letter of condolence stated “Mr. Vaughan devoted his life to the DRC and embodied the deepest form of diplomacy. His insights and wisdoms strengthened our programs and our own knowledge of the country. He was a brilliant manager, a devoted mentor, and beyond all, was regarded by his staff as an exemplary role model, always caring for their personal growth and professional advancement.”
Toby loved to hike, fish, and canoe. He took many expeditions with his stepfather, Henry Franklin, into the wilds of Labrador, Quebec, and northern Maine. He was a staunch fan of the Boston Red Sox and often woke up in Kinshasa at 3 AM to watch a game live, rather than the replay the following day. As a Peace Corps volunteer and later, in the jungle mining diamonds, he was used to roughing it – living in a mud hut or tent, subsisting on manioc meal, beans, and if he was lucky, spam or sardines. But he always appreciated good food especially his mother’s cooking. Prior to his trips back to the US he would send a list of favorite dishes he hoped to eat while here.
He will be missed dearly by his wife (Patricia), daughter (Esther), sisters (Catherine Vaughan and Sarah Franklin), step brothers and sisters (Susan Franklin Oropallo and John Franklin), nephew (Sam Induni) and many relatives and friends throughout the world.
He was predeceased by his mother, Josephine Franklin; father, Robert Vaughan; stepfather, Henry Franklin; his infant son, Liam; and stepbrother, Peter Franklin.
A formal service will be held in Washington DC, in the coming weeks.