Andrew Thomas “Tom” McLaughlin passed away on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. He was born on July 10, 1926 in Trinidad, Colorado. Dad would have turned 85 next week, and although we won’t be able to celebrate as planned, we believe he is now enjoying a reunion with Mom that far exceeds anything we could have arranged.
Dad’s parents were Andrew Thomas McLaughlin and Emma Jenny Repetschnig. He had one sister, Elizabeth Jean McLaughlin, with whom he maintained a special, close relationship throughout both of their lives. Dad was raised in Denver, Colorado and in his youth worked on survey crews and as a laborer on jobs with his father. After completing school, Dad moved to California to work and pursue further education. During WWII, he received a deferment of service due to his mother’s illness and subsequent death. He entered the Navy near the end of the war and served for two years.
While living in San Francisco, he met St. George native, Leah Bentley. They were married on August 5, 1954. During their first few years of marriage, Mom and Dad moved where his Engineering jobs took them. They lived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Squaw Valley, Oakland, and finally settled in Fremont, California to raise their family.
Dad has always been a hard-worker and committed long hours to provide for his family. He worked for the City of Fremont as a Civil Engineer, and spent his evenings doing tax preparation work on the side. While living in Fremont, Dad made a significant change in his life. He spent several years investigating the LDS church, and with the support of our Mom and some close neighbors, Dad was baptized in 1970. One year later, our family was sealed together in the Oakland Temple. Dad served in various callings in the church and was a stalwart example to those around him. He was honest, filled with integrity, and known for being meticulous, thorough and organized.
Every Thanksgiving, Dad drove our family to St. George for the annual Bentley family reunion. Mom always missed her hometown, and in 1979 she and Dad made the decision to move to St. George. While living here, Dad worked for Creamer & Noble Engineers. He was a loyal employee and quietly completed many large projects involving travel throughout the State. He enjoyed his work and didn’t choose to retire until the age of 78.
Mom loved to entertain, and Dad enjoyed being in the background while she filled their home with large groups of family and friends. He was her biggest supporter and lovingly cared for her when she battled breast cancer. Dad was a great example of a husband, and he and Mom enjoyed many simple pleasures together: drives in their vintage convertible, hiking, listening to music, and spending time with their children and grandchildren. When Mom passed away in 1998, after complications from heart surgery, Dad truly lost his best friend. Despite his own feelings of loss, he became especially compassionate and caring to fill the void felt by all of us.
In recent years, Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Though it’s been difficult to see the effects of his illness, we are grateful Dad always remained pleasant and kept much of his sense of humor. We will miss you Dad.
Tom is survived by his children: Mark (Annella) of St. George, Gary (Michele) of Las Vegas, Lisa (Larry) Moss of Santa Clara, and Curt (Tammy) of Las Vegas, and 13 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Leah, and his sister Jean.
Funeral Services will be held at 11am Friday, July 8th, 2011 at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff St, St. George. Friends may call at the same location on Thursday from 7-8 pm and Friday from 9:30-10:30 am. Interment will be in the St. George Cemetery, under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary (435) 673-2454.
We would like to thank Cliff View Senior Living for the compassionate care dad received. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org