We are all saddened to hear of the sudden passing of another well known and respected Democratic Committee Person – Bill McLaughlin of West Chester, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends.
William L. McLaughlin, Lawyer and Life-Long Sailor, died suddenly Saturday, March 26, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida, while on vacation pursuing one of his lifelong passions: sailboat racing. He was 69.
The only child of the late William Leo and Nellie Vidunis McLaughlin, Bill was born in Pittsburgh in 1947. In the 1950’s, the family moved to Paoli where his father started one of the first law practices in Paoli.
After graduating from Villanova University, where his studies included naval architecture, Bill pursued graduate study in geography at Penn State. His study of Pennsylvania historic districts lead to his employment with the Bureau for Historic Preservation, a division of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, where he oversaw a state-wide historic resource survey in the early 1980s. An amateur photographer, he developed an extensive collection of his own photos of historic buildings, diners, and small town scenes from Pennsylvania’s past.
Bill later pursued a law degree at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law) and joined his father’s law practice in 1986. He took over the firm when his father died in 1993 and was still practicing at the time of his death.
Bill was competing in the Master’s National Sunfish Championship races held in Jensen Beach, Florida, when he suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Bill resided in West Chester with his wife, June Roberts McLaughlin, and spent many happy times at their second home in Margate, NJ. He was an active member of the community, serving on the West Chester Historic and Architectural Review Board. He was also a current member and former chair of the West Chester Democratic Committee.
A competitive sailor from childhood, Bill was a member of the Marsh Creek Sailing Club. His cousin, Joseph McLaughlin of Philadelphia, remembers a Middlebury College classmate telling him in the fall of 1962 that “Your cousin Bill wiped out the competition in sailing races all summer on the East Coast.”
Bill is survived by his wife June and numerous relatives. He will be missed by his extensive network of close friends, some of whom may have known him as “Mac.” Bill will be remembered for his sense of humor, zest for life, personal kindness, and compassion for the less fortunate. He also enjoyed the outdoors and walking his dog with June. As a member of the Kiwanis Club, of which his father was a charter member, donations should be made to the Upper Main Line Kiwanis Club, care of Mark Lezanic, 1475 Russell Road, Berwyn PA 19312.
A memorial service will be held at Milestone, located at 600 East Market Street, West Chester, PA 19382 on April 23, 2016, at 1:00 p.m.