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Edward Bowen McLaughlin

1938 - 2020
Edward Bowen McLaughlin Obituary
Edward Bowen McLaughlin

Vero Beach - Edward Bowen McLaughlin, of Vero Beach and Manhattan, passed away on January 4, 2020, surrounded by family and caregivers. He was born on December 5, 1938 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Philip Hicks McLaughlin and Sybil Bowen McLaughlin. During Philip's Navy service in World War II, Eddie and his mother moved to Pawtucket to stay with her family, spending summers with them in Narragansett, Rhode Island. After his father returned, the family moved to Brooklyn, where they lived on Fleet Street at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Eddie liked to remember taking the elevated train to Adelphi Academy as a first and second grader-on his own and at a cost of five cents. After his sister Meredith was born, the family left Brooklyn and moved to Fairfield, Connecticut.

In high school, Eddie attended Fairfield Country Day School and Salisbury School, finishing at Milford Academy/Rosenbaum School. There, his English teacher, Joe Alderman, became a significant influence helping to cultivate his love of literature and language. With an interest in journalism Eddie attended his father's alma mater, Brown University, and majored in English. He was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. He also attended Salem College in West Virginia, where he studied Religion.

In 1960, Eddie married Marnie Gaynor and soon began his professional life at a training program with the Manhattan office of Smith Barney. He commuted from their home in Riverdale and remembered seeing a young Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul Jabbar) nearly every day as Alcindor headed to high school at Power Memorial Academy. Eddie attended night school at New York University to further his economics studies. Two years later, his sister Meredith helped him get a job at a small Wall Street brokerage firm, H.N. Whitney, Goadby & Co., where, as he liked to say, he was given "a desk and a phone." While working there as an institutional salesman in the early 1960's, Eddie met Julius Rapp, who ran a small over-the-counter firm. Eddie considered Julius, as well as Tom Knapp of Tweedy, Brown Partners, as generous mentors in the arcane area of value investing of inactive securities.

Before long, Eddie was recruited by the firm of Jesup and Lamont, where his remarkable aptitude for numbers and an insatiable curiosity about companies and industries led to his promotion to partner after just a few months. He regularly lunched with Alan Abelson, author of Barron's "Up & Down Wall Street" column, and Archie MacAllister, a member of Barron's Roundtable. Those were the heady days of Wall Street where, as Eddie recalled, the ethos was "never to make big decisions after a two-martini lunch." Eddie was profiled several times in magazines and newspapers including Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Florida Trend. He gained the nickname "the Ferret" for his ability to dig up obscure but potentially valuable stock treasures. A fellow investor observed that he was more of a collector of stocks than a trader.

Between 1962 and 1969, Eddie and Marnie welcomed three children, Mimi, Jonathan, and Alexandra. After working both sides of the Street as an institutional salesman and a money manager, Eddie left Wall Street and moved the family to Easton, Connecticut. Along with fellow Wall Street friends Don Herman and Fred Appleton he founded Southport Associates, and later Saugatuck Associates, managing money solely for family and friends.

By 1975, however, the McLaughlins were ready to leave the cold Northeast behind and moved to sunny Vero Beach, Florida. Once settled in at John's Island, Eddie and Marnie opened an antiques store called Victorian Accents. At the same time he continued to hone his unique investing approach and began to engage in local real estate investment.

Eddie was profiled several times in newspapers and magazines including Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Florida Trend. He gained the nickname "the Ferret" for his ability to dig up obscure but potentially valuable stock treasures. A fellow investor observed he was more of a collector of stocks than a trader.

Eddie and Marnie divorced in 2003. He later married Lisa Harpring, an attorney at Moss, Henderson and Lloyd in Vero Beach. Eddie was a true Renaissance man. He was at heart a collector-not just of stocks, but also of art and antiques. He was pleased to have his Andrew Wyeth watercolor, The Steering Oar, featured in the Vero Beach Museum of Art for the exhibition "In the Tradition of Wyeth: Contemporary Watercolor Masters." Collecting fine wine was another passion. He was a voracious reader of newspapers and magazines and loved movies and a wide range of music from Puccini to Motown to Rock 'n' Roll.

In Eddie's 40-plus years in Vero Beach he served as Chairman of the Board of Atlantic Communications, Inc. and Citrus Broadcaster, Inc., as well as the John's Island Property Owner's Association and Architectural Review Committee. From 1978 to 1989 he served on the Board of Trustees of St. Edwards School, after which he became an Honorary Trustee. He established the McLaughlin Charitable Foundation, which supported many local charities in Vero Beach, Connecticut, and Virginia. The Foundation was particularly influential in the formation of Ballet Vero Beach. His service to the community included participation in the Wahlstrom Foundation, the VNA Foundation Board, the Treasure Coast Wine Festival Board, and the Florida Bar Grievance Committee. He was a longtime member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Quail Valley River Club, the Oak Harbor Club, and the "E-section" at Bobby's on Ocean Drive.

Eddie was very proud of his ancestry. His maternal ancestors emigrated from Wales to Rehobeth, Massachusetts in 1640. His ancestor Jabez Bowen was a militia colonel during the Revolutionary War and later became Deputy Governor of Rhode Island from 1781 to 1786. Another ancestor, William Whipple, represented New Hampshire as a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, and eventually, as a representative from New Hampshire to the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1779.

In later life Eddie became afflicted with dementia. Despite the challenges he faced, a year or so before his death he penned a "Template Autobiography," describing career highlights and identifying the many individuals who played important roles in his success.

After his disease advanced significantly, Eddie spent his last months at Somerset House in Oak Harbor eating ice cream, smiling with visitors, extending a hand and listening to his favorite music. The family would like to thank the entire staff of Somerset House as well as many private caregivers for their expertise and kindness. We are forever in debt to Eddie's primary caregivers, Barbara Monroe and Eddie Mae Leslie, both of whom were tireless in their care and devotion in the face of his very debilitating disease.

Eddie was a loyal fan of the New York Giants and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, the New York Rangers and Islanders and Formula One. He lived life large, and his many friends appreciated his congeniality, generosity, and quick wit. Most of all, Eddie's devotion to the happiness of his family was palpable. He will be deeply missed.

Eddie is survived by his wife Lisa,sister Meredith McLaughlin, cousin Philip Cox, children Mimi McLaughlin and Alexandra Amos (Jay), grandchildren Caitlin, Victoria, Austin, Chase, Bowen and Annabel and great-granddaughters Charlie and Lilah. He was predeceased by his son Jonathan.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Camp Agawam (, Ballet Vero Beach (, or the Alzheimer & Parkinson Association of Indian River County (

Visitation will be held from 5-7 PM on Friday, January 17, 2020 at Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1PM, Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Holy Cross Catholic Church.

Interment will be at Crestlawn Cemetery.

An online guestbook is available at
Published in the TC Palm from Jan. 10 to Jan. 16, 2020
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