He graduated from Montgomery Bell (Tenn.) Academy. His father was in the Class of 1925. Vaden played football his first two years, belonged to Cottage, and studied basic engineering.
After graduation he served in the Navy on the destroyers Harwoodand Fisk.Following active duty, he remained in the Naval Reserve, switching from line officer to JAG and retiring 22 years later as a commander.
As a civilian he earned a law degree from Vanderbilt in 1956. He then practiced law until retiring in 1990 from Denney, Lackey & Chernau as a senior partner.
A talented businessman and philanthropist, Vaden was active in community affairs, serving on a host of boards and in many cases as board president. In 1963 he was elected for a term as representative in the Tennessee General Assembly
Known as “Cookie” both at Princeton and in Nashville, he was an ardent sports fan, rooting for the football Titans and Vanderbilt basketball and football teams. He enjoyed golf, once posting a hole-in-one.
Vaden was predeceased by his wife, Nancy, whom he married in 1954. He is survived by sons Vaden III ’77, Raymond, and Gilbert, and five grandchildren.