Herbert Vaughn Kerley passed away suddenly at his home in Crossville on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. He was a Korean War veteran and a recipient of the Bronze Star and other medals during that service. After his return home, he joined the Merchant Marines and became a member of the Seafarers International Union representing merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S. flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades. He was an engineer on vessels in the Great Lakes area during his entire career.
Vaughn was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar C. Kerley and Cora Burgess Kerley; sister, Christine Kerley; brothers, Gary Kerley, Oliver Kerley and Dr. Harold Kerley; brother-in-law, Bill Brown; and nephew, Jeffrey Brown.
He is survived by his brother Bennie Kerley and wife Sarah Kerley; sisters, Anna Kerley, Bonnie Kerley, Syble Brown, Velma Daugherty and husband Vern Daugherty; sisters-in-law Gail Kerley and Pat Austin; many beloved nieces and nephews, cousins, and special uncle Paul Kerley who provided so many good childhood memories for him.
Vaughn was like a father (or really wonderful big brother) to his younger brothers and sisters after his father died at an early age, helping his mother raise them and ensuring that they all completed their education. One of his nephews, Andrew Daugherty, acknowledging that Vaughn hated any praise, said, "My Uncle Vaughn epitomized loyalty, strength, open-mindedness, respect for others, humor, a commitment to hard work as a merchant mariner and a fiercely unconditional love of family. He was the most worthy patriarch of the Kerley family, and he will be deeply and profoundly missed." Nephew Scott Kerley stated, "He was the best, most selfless and noble man I've ever personally known. He never realized what a great man he was. He always just thought of himself as an ordinary guy, but he was far from ordinary to those who loved him." There will be a celebration of his life at a later date.
Vaughn's family would also like to thank the stranger who was walking by in the Greenbriar Subdivision on Sunday, saw him collapsed in his front yard and called 911 for him. The family is so very grateful to this person, the police and EMT personnel who answered the call, and others who made sure the family was notified. Thank you all.