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Montana woman killed in fall at Yellowstone National Park

BILLINGS, Mont. (BP)–A longtime Mission Service Corps volunteer in Montana fell to her death while visiting Yellowstone National Park Sept. 4.
Jean Vaughn, 74, was visiting the park over the Labor Day weekend when she apparently slipped and fell at the Grand View vista overlook of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
According to Jim Edlin, director of communications for the Montana Southern Baptist Fellowship, no one saw or heard her fall, “even though this very popular vista was crowded with people.” It was several hours later before it was determined that she had fallen into the canyon. The Yellowstone River gorge appears to be 2,000 to 3,000 feet deep at that point, Edlin said.
Park rangers were unable to retrieve her body that day by helicopter because of high winds but did so the next morning. The slope of the canyon wall is very steep and the rock on the walls crumbles easily, making a retrieval by repelling down into the canyon very difficult, Edlin said.
Vaughn and her husband, Cal, had parked their car at the vista and she walked about 40-50 feet to look into the canyon, Edlin said. She apparently fell about 80 feet in a freefall and then tumbled down the canyon wall another 420 feet before coming to rest on a rock ledge.
The couple had planned a short day trip to the park and then return to their home in Billings.
Funeral services were held Sept. 8 at Rimrock Baptist Church in Billings.
Cal Vaughn is the retired state Volunteer Construction Coordinator for Montana. He also serves on the board of Yellowstone Baptist College and is a former member of the Montana Southern Baptist Fellowship executive committee.
Besides her husband, survivors include a son, Bill; three daughters, Jeanetta Jarrett, Janice Krenzke, and Donna Riphenburg; a sister, Beth Brown; a brother, Richard Norton; and 11 grandchildren.

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  • Herb Hollinger