LCol J. Philip “Phil” Vaughan, CD, D.Eng. (Hon), P.Eng (Ret’d)
We regret to advise of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel J. Philip “Phil” Vaughan, peacefully at his home in Halifax, NS on 8 April 2016 at the age of 92. Phil was a President of the Military Engineers Association of Canada 1963-64.
A fourth-generation Haligonian, Phil was born and grew up in north end Halifax in a house his father rebuilt after the Halifax Explosion. He attended Alexander MacKay School, Saint Mary's College High School, and Saint Mary's University. He excelled academically, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree and numerous academic awards for excellence. Phil went on to the Nova Scotia Technical College and graduated during the war years with multiple honours and a degree in Civil Engineering.
Phil had interrupted his university studies in 1944 during WWII to enlist in the Royal Canadian Engineers. He completed his officer training that year at A-5 Canadian Engineer Training Center in Petawawa, ON and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He then re-entered Nova Scotia Technical College as a Military Engineer officer and completed his Civil Engineering Degree in 1945. Returning to Camp Petawawa, he volunteered for Pacific service and was transferred to Camp Vernon, BC. In late December 1945, with the war over, Phil took his discharge and returned to Nova Scotia.
Continuing his military career, In early 1947 Phil joined Headquarters, Royal Canadian Engineers, 5 Division in Halifax, as a young lieutenant. He continued with this unit when it was reorganized as 5th Field Engineer Regiment, RCE (Militia), and served in various appointments such as HQ Liaison Officer, Adjutant, Commanding Officer, 30 Field Squadron, and Second-in-Command of the Regiment. In 1957 Phil was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed Commanding Officer of 5th Field Engineer Regiment, serving in this command until 1961 when he retired.
In his civilian career, Phil joined the Nova Scotia Department of Highways and Public Works after the war and became Chief Bridge Engineer for the Province while still in his early thirties. The Liverpool Bridge, which still stands today, was the first bridge he designed. In 1958 started the consulting firm of J. Philip Vaughan and Associates Limited. When he eventually retired "Vaughan Engineering" had close to 40 employees and held contracts, locally, nationally and internationally. Phil's engineering expertise is part of many locally known projects including the Canso Causeway, the Scotia Bank Centre, and the Dalhousie Student Union Building to name a few. Among his proudest professional achievements is the design of the Halifax Dockyard Synchrolift that, at the time of its construction, was the largest device in the world for lifting ships from the water for refit/repair.
As a volunteer in his professional life, Phil was President of the Association of Professional Engineers of NS, President of the National Design Council of Canada, a member of the Construction Industry Design Council of Canada, and head of the Canadian delegation to the International Congress of Societies of Industrial Design in Helsinki, Finland. He was Chairman of the Admissions Standards Committee of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and Vice Chair of the Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia. He was a "Warden" of Camp 7 of the Corporation of the Seven Wardens - the group that awards newly minted engineers their iron rings. Phil willingly gave his time to the church as well. He was a Lector and Minister of the Eucharist. He participated on several Parish committees and served as Chairman of the Diocesan Council of the Archdiocese of Halifax. He was the Chairman of the first Parish Council for the Saint Thomas Aquinas Church.
Phil exemplified community service. He served on the Board of the Halifax Infirmary and also on the Board of Governors of Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia Technical College, Mount St. Vincent University, The Halifax Board of Trade, and the Halifax Board of School Commissioners. He was Chairman of the Halifax Library Board and President of the Oxford Home and School Association, Chairman of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and on the National Board of the Royal Commonwealth Society. He served as President of the Alumni Associations of both Saint Mary's University and The Technical University of Nova Scotia. In retirement, Phil volunteered with Meals on Wheels until he was 91. Phil also served for many years on the Board of Genesis House, a group home for at risk youth, jointly operated by churches of several denominations. Phil volunteered for the Liberal Party actively from the age of 15 until he was 91 - working as a poll captain, scrutineer, canvasser, fundraiser, and riding executive member. He was recognized by the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia in 2005 for more than 60 years of continuous volunteerism.
Phil has received Honorary Doctorates from both Saint Mary's University and the Technical University of Nova Scotia. He was chosen from all of the Engineers in Nova Scotia in 1987 as one of only ten engineers honoured across the country to mark the 100th anniversary of the Engineering Profession in Canada. He has also been awarded Fellowships by Engineers Canada, The Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering. In 2001, Phil was awarded the "Gold Medal", the highest award from the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia. He was an Honorary Life Member of Engineers Nova Scotia, and of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering. He was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Engineers Nova Scotia Citizenship Award, the Saint Mary's University Alumni Association Distinguished Community Service Award, the Alumni Achievement Award of the Technical University of Nova Scotia, and the Charitable Irish Society Community Service Award.
Visitation will take place at J. A. Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, on Thursday, 14 April from 2:00 - 4:00 and 7:00-9:00 pm and on Friday, 15 April from 2:00-6:00 pm. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, 16 April at 11:00am at Canadian Martyrs Church, Inglis Street, Halifax. For those who wish to honour Phil's lifetime legacy of community service, donations or voluntary service can be made to Halifax Meals on Wheels, 6670 Bayers Road, Halifax NS, B3L 2B5 . Gifts may also be made in Philip's memory by contacting Dalhousie University indicating they want to make a gift to the Dr. J. Philip Vaughan Engineering Scholarship.