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Saturday, December 24, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Obituary | Norman Vaughan sought adventure

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Norman Vaughan, a dog handler and driver in Adm. Richard Byrd's 1928 expedition to the South Pole, died Friday just a few days after turning 100 years old.

Mr. Vaughan died at Providence Alaska Medical Center surrounded by family and friends, said nursing supervisor Martha George.

He was well enough Dec. 17 to enjoy a birthday celebration at the hospital attended by more than 100 friends and hospital workers. His actual birthday was Monday.

Mr. Vaughan's motto was "Dream big and dare to fail." Days before his 89th birthday he and his wife, Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan, returned to Antarctica and climbed to the summit of 10,320-foot Mount Vaughan, the mountain Byrd named in his honor.

"It was the climax of our dream," he told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year at his Anchorage home. "We had to risk failure to get there."

Mr. Vaughan sought adventure his entire life.

His exploits included finishing the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race six times after age 70. At age 96, he carried the Olympic torch in Juneau, passing the flame from a wheelchair, 70 years after he competed in the Olympics as a sled-dog racer.

Mr. Vaughan wanted to climb Mount Vaughan again to celebrate his 100th birthday, but the expedition fell short of money. He planned to sip champagne at the summit — the first taste of alcohol for the lifetime teetotaler.

Mr. Vaughan had a taste of champagne during a birthday celebration, however.

He left Harvard University to join Byrd on his expedition, which included creation of the first settlement in Antarctica and the first flight over the South Pole.

He was part of a crew that drove dog teams 1,500 miles across the frozen continent to collect geological samples and other scientific data.

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