John Laughlin

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  • " I am sorry John has left our presence; he was a warm and..."
    - Ellie Fabian
  • "What an incredible loss! He was a wonderful man, always at..."
    - laura
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John Laughlin, a resident of Santa Rosa since 1976, died August 14, 2010 at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. He was 94. Mr. Laughlin was preceded in death by parents, Catherine (Finnegan) and James Richard Laughlin; his daughter, Maureen T. Cox; his sister, Grace M. Woolsey; and his nephews Patrick W. and Mark T. Sjoberg. Mr. Laughlin is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marjorie Rose (Carey) and their children: M. Michele Genereux, Seanna M. Desmond, Cara A. Lisica, Stephanie E. Sieurac, James P. and J. Michael Laughlin; their spouses John P. Genereux, Jerry L. Cox, John N. Lisica, Max Sieurac, and Dona (Metcalf) Laughlin; and their children, Carey S. (Kristine) and Kevin M. Cox; Ryan P. (Lauren), Samuel R., Patrick W., David C., and Ian M. Desmond; Kristina A., Nicholas M., and Joseph A. Lisica; Sean M. Sieurac; Colin H. Laughlin; and Marika L. Laughlin; nieces Suzanne Maurer, Dolores Donovan, Cathleen Sloniger, Gabrielle Carey, Margaret Lousen, Eileen Simon; nephews Michael Woolsey, James Carey, Paul and Brian Sjoberg; three great-grandchildren, Carter and Calvin Cox and Connor Desmond, and a cousin, Margaret Penne (Montana). John Laughlin's forebears began their journey from Ireland to settle in Pennsylvania, Maine, the Carolinas, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota in the 1600s. His father and uncles founded the Clinton Falls/Cashman Nursery in Owatonna, Minnesota in the late 1800s. His grandfather, John Henry, was a pioneer farmer, credited with improved soybean farming practices. Mr. Laughlin's uncle, Tom Cashman, represented the area in the State Legislature; his portrait still hangs in the Agriculture Building at the University of Minnesota. John was born in Minneapolis! June 28, 1916. It was a Fire Dragon year in China, the place he promised pals he'd go when he grew up. He attended Catholic schools and minor seminaries and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He played ice hockey. He was an Eagle Scout. Lieut. Laughlin served in the U.S. Army Air Corps 1941 through 1946. His group retrofitted aircraft used in Lt. Col. Doolittle's famous bombing run over Tokyo. He spent the war in the South Pacific theater, mostly in New Guinea as a player in Gen. MacArthur's island-hopping campaign. Ironically, John died on the 65th anniversary of V-J Day. Mr. Laughlin joined Esso Standard Eastern, Inc. (ExxonMobil) in 1946, and sailed to China., where Marjorie joined him, "following at a respectful distance." With her help, John represented the firm in Beijing, Tientsin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Viet Nam, Bombay, and New Delhi, as Director of Finance. He particularly enjoyed his role as Director of Government Affairs working with Ministers in the Indian government. He was an accomplished 2-handicap golfer, winning the 1963 International Petroleum Congress Cup in Frankfort, Germany, with a hole-in-one. Mr. Laughlin retired to Wikiup Estates in 1976. He attended university in Israel and earned a Master's Degree in Theology from the University of San Francisco. Fluent in Biblical Greek and Latin, he was able to write and publish concordances for the Gospels of Mark and John, before diabetes robbed him of his eyesight. Mr. Laughlin was that rare individual who actually lived a balanced life of prayer, work, family, sport, and leisure. He was a devout Catholic, a successful international executive, much-admired by his employees, a gracious host, and a principled parent who funded 35 years of college education, remained curious all his life, and cherished one wife, who was crazy about him. He enjoyed a good cigar, admired the sparkle of brandy in Waterford crystal, and kept up with Nero Wolf. Mr. Laughlin endured but never bowed to the pains of malaria, scurvy, neuropathy, strokes, hearing loss, and blindness. He had a fine Irish wit, like his great-uncles who prepared his grandmother, Bounce, for school by teaching her the alphabet, backwards. He, himself, could recite ditties by rote in English and Mandarin, and sing any tune off-key. He paid his taxes, supported good works, helped others, and had his broker on speed-dial. He was polite, ever cheerful and disciplined. He voted dutifully in order to nullify Mrs. Laughlin's choices. He kept his "eye on north," schooled his children in three-step-planning, reminding them that the only difference between a rut and the grave is the depth of the hole. John Laughlin never expected to have cash at the end. He never expected to live past age 75. He enjoyed a swift and peaceful death while listening to the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland A's. John's family would like to thank Max and Stephanie Sieurac and their son Sean for making John's last years at home possible and pleasant. We also thank the young men who helped to care for him at home, Robert, Rod, Christian, Joseph, and the nurses who visited him, especially Joseph Farley, as well as loyal neighbors and friends. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at St. Eugene's Cathedral, 2323 Montgomery Drive, Saturday August 21st, at 9:30 a.m., followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery. Family will receive visitors at the church before Mass. Memorials would be welcome at the Enchanted Hills Camp of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 3410 Mt Veeder Road, Napa CA 94558, an organization that provides outdoor activities for blind or near-blind individuals of all ages. Or John would be pleased to have people surprising one another with invitations to lunch, out. Funeral arrangements by ~ DANIELS CHAPEL OF THE ROSES FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES (707) 525-3730
Funeral Home
Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
(707) 525-3730
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Aug. 18 to Aug. 20, 2010
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