Richard Dewayne McLaughlin, 87, left this earth at 7:58 a.m. June 21, 2014, taking his constant feisty spirit with him.
He was born Jan. 16, 1927, to Thomas A. and Theoda Hoppus McLaughlin in St. Regis, Mont. In November 1949, he married Billie Joann Maggert, who preceded him in death.
At the tender age of 2, he lost his mother and was sent by train from Montana to Indiana with her deceased body and a mammie. This toddler’s amazing journey caught the attention of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and, while stopped in Chicago, MacArthur visited young Richard. This would not be his only interaction with MacArthur.
He spent his remaining childhood being raised by his maternal grandma Hoppus. He attended Warsaw High School and graduated in 1945. He immediately left for the military, achieving the rank of private first class. He faithfully served his country post-World War II in occupied Japan; however, his most treasured memory of military service was serving as an honor guard to MacArthur.
Upon returning home in 1948 he met his wife with whom he had three children. He worked for United Telephone as a cable splicer for nearly 40 years. He always took pride in his work and being a union man.
His true passion was the outdoors. He loved the water and the woods and at any time of the year you could find him fishing. He genuinely enjoyed his annual trips to Minnesota with his sons. In the spring, he would scour the woods looking for those elusive morel mushrooms. Summer would be spent tending to his garden.
Being sent away as a toddler was always hard for him. He desperately wanted to learn his family history. In 1992, he traveled west to Oregon and Wyoming to meet his then McLaughlin family. He learned that his paternal great-grandmother was full-blooded Blackfoot Indian and that he is of Scottish heritage. He always wanted to learn more about his family.
The past several months have been difficult for him and his family. The McLaughlin family would like to thank all the doctors and nurses who aided him during this time.
Surviving are: Michael (and spouse Linda), Rick and Debra; eight grandchildren: Melanie, Erica, Reesha, Natalie, Mason, Margaret, Billie Jean and Ryan; seven great-grandchildren: Raelynn, Richie, Mia, Lilah, Emmelia, Ryan and Chase. He also was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Reesha.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Titus Funeral Home, Warsaw. Burial is in Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw.
Calling is from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.