Edward Anthony McLaughlin Sr., 85, passed away at home in Oak Harbor, Wash., Whidbey Island on Nov. 6, 2020, after a prolonged illness. He was born to Leonard Floyd McLaughlin and Beatrice (Soards) McLaughlin on Dec. 17, 1934, in Spokane, Wash., the youngest of their six children.
Both parents and his siblings, David, George, Patricia, James and Floyd, preceded him in death, as well as three of his six children, Terry Lee, Edward Jr. and Tammie Ann.
He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Catherine; two sons, James Patrick and Joseph Allen; and one daughter, Cherel Lynn Bayne. He leaves 13 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
He attended Catholic grade school in his parish and public high school in Spokane. In 1951, at age 17, he embarked on what he considered the adventure of his life, enlisting in the United States Navy and going to San Diego as a recruit. He went to numerous service schools in the Navy to increase his aircraft maintenance skills but always said he loved fixing them and flying in aircrew best. He did several tours in VP outfits, mostly #1.
After his retirement from the Navy in June l971 in Corpus Christi, Texas, TRARON 27, he returned with his family to Whidbey Island. During his service he went to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and many islands across the Pacific, and to Alaska, California, Tennessee and Texas. He received the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal with combat “V.” Not surprisingly, as a former member of “Dickie’s Delinquents,” he also has several Good Conduct Medals.
He went to barber school and worked in the base barbershop after retirement, worked briefly for School District #201 as a janitor and bus driver, and then got the job he loved at NAS Whidbey AIMD Air Frames 500 Division as an aircraft pneudraulic systems mechanic for 21 years, retiring in 1995. He volunteered as a lay eucharistic minister and took communion to nursing homes and to the homebound, did daily lay minister services at the small chapel when the priest was unavailable, and volunteered both as a CCD teacher and CYO leader for which he received the Archdiocese of Seattle For God and Youth Award in 1993 for outstanding adults who contribute time and talent for God and Youth.
He was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Council #3361, Grand Knight in 1988, and Knight of the Year in 1993. For five years in the late 1990s, he partnered a family business adult family home, Deer Hill Cottage, with his wife, Catherine.
Over the years, despite good medical care, his health deteriorated to the point that he could no longer participate in strenuous activities. His favorite hobbies were working with his tractor, motorcycling, fishing, sailing and taking road trips in the motor home. His favorite things were the people he met along the way, his friends and family, and the bonds that young people form during the growing years of their lives that sustain them when they get old. He was pretty much an invalid for the last five years of his life and, at the end, was assisted under the guidance of Hospice Northwest. They were very supportive, and Catherine greatly appreciates the caregivers and RNs, their equipment and the backup services they provided.
A Rosary Vigil is scheduled and memorial mass with reception will be held when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and the safety of attendees can be assured. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite charity or Hospice Northwest in Edward’s name.