Vaughnette Christine Nystrom Neal passed away surrounded by love, peace, and with dignity on January 11, 2023. She was born January 30, 1933, in Brookline Vermont, the daughter of Fred and Davida (Olsson) Nystrom. She joined siblings Vivian, Vernon, Calvin, and Din (Gordon) on the family farm. Her mother passed away 3 months after Vaughnette’s birth leaving a lifelong impact.
When she was 12 years old, she and her Dad moved to a farm in Walpole, NH. She graduated from the Walpole Academy in 1949 at 16. Unable to pursue her dream of being a physical education teacher because of age and college requirements, she went off to the Rutland Business School with her best friend Peggy Patch. After deciding that wasn’t for them, and after many adventures they settled back in Walpole, both marrying, raising children, and laughing over the phone on a daily basis.
While raising her family, Vaughnette was involved with many community activities including Den Mother for the Cub Scouts, active member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Fresh Air program, and anything else Peggy volunteered her to do. She was an excellent athlete and shared her skills and knowledge by coaching many youth basketball and softball programs. She was the player/coach for the Hubbard Farms Softball team and later turned her attention to golf and her newfound love of the sport.
Vaughnette did bookkeeping for local small businesses while her children were young, then was employed by the US Postal Service, Cheshire County Savings Bank, and Brown and Roberts Hardware.
She was a longtime member of the Walpole Congregational Church serving on many committees. She shared her beautiful voice with their choir along with the Bellows Falls Community Choir, Keene Chorale, and the Union Church in Westmoreland. There weren’t many trips to her children’s sporting events or car rides that sing-alongs weren’t included.
Vaughnette loved to travel, especially her trip to Sweden and many cruises with friends and family. Her love of Ogunquit, Maine made that a family favorite. She was an avid Boston sports fan enjoying many games at Fenway. A little secret is she was a very competitive card player, rarely letting her children or friends win!
Vaughnette is survived by her children; Verne Gage (Donna), Kevin Gage (Kim) Christine Gowen (Tim), Brian Gage (Ellie), and stepchildren Mary Beer (Joe) and James Neal (Patti). Some of her greatest joys, grandchildren; Andrew (Alyssa), Jeannine (Tim), Christopher (Charissa) Kevin (Janet), Tiffany (Jesse), Cassidy (Rachael), Melissa (Michael), Josh (Ajlan), Jesse (Maria), Zach, Scott (AnnLouise), Patrick (Molly), Laura (Doug), Great grandchildren; Vaughn (Nina), Mariah, Gavin, Gage, Regan, Julianna, Syon, Amalia, Magnolia, Ophelia, Frances, Levi, Ronan, Vada, Clayton, Austin (Amanda), Bronwen, Gillian, William, Ellery, Leo, Mila, Nolan, her great-great-grandson Alexander, and many Nystrom/Olsson cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Vaughnette is predeceased by her husband Leslie Neal, stepson John Neal, her siblings, parents including stepmother Evelyn (Rink)Nystrom, her nieces Karin Nystrom, and Wendy Nystrom, nephew Paul Stagner, and her dearest friend of 76 years Peggy (Patch) Graves.
As we reflect on the life of our mother, many things come to mind. Her ability to laugh, forgive, and to also show amazing strength and courage. In spite of a 45-year war with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she never let that interfere with living her life with kindness and joy. Vaughnette was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend to many. Her gift of love and laughter will always stay with those lives she touched.
Her family would like to thank the staff at Maplewood Assisted Living, her private caregivers coordinated by her granddaughter Tiffany Snelling, and Hospice Services. All offering her amazing care which we will always be grateful for.
Calling hours will be held Friday, January 20th from 5-7 pm at Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel, Keene, NH.
A graveside service and celebration of life will be held in the spring per her wishes.
In lieu of flowers please send donations in Vaughnette’s memory to the:
Rheumatology Research Foundation
2200 Lake Boulevard NE.
Atlanta, Ga. 30319.
All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com.