April 14,1930 – September 6, 2016
The world lost a kind soul and a true gentle man with the passing of James Lawrence (Bill) McLaughlin. Bill slipped away peacefully and quietly on Sept 6th, 2016 in Nanaimo, BC. His big old heart just stopped ticking. After suffering a heart attack in December 2011, while in Arizona, the Bill we all knew started slowly slipping away.
Bill was born on April 14th, 1930, in Manville, Alberta; the youngest son of the late Bernard and Marian McLaughlin. He joins his other siblings Terry, Gerald, and Vernon and leaves behind his only sister, Colleen. Predeceased by his former wife, Antonia (Toni), Bill leaves behind daughters, Margo and Debra with her spouse Richard Drdla; sons, Clark, Ward, and his children, Bernadette, Gabriel and Rohan; daughter, Melanie McCormick with her husband and their children. Bill was also predeceased by his second wife, Patricia McLaughlin (Priddy) and leaves behind stepdaughters, Sandra Hjerpe and Cheryl Milroy (Hjerpe) with husband Dan.
“Wild Bill” as his sons liked to call him, loved the outdoors – the big open highway, and driving solo in his cherished red truck. In Campbell River and Kelowna, he would throw the boat on top and head out fishing. There was never a lake too far or an ocean too deep to drop in a line because “you never knew when the fish could be jumping”.
Every winter for many years, Bill would high-tail it to Apache Junction, Arizona. He developed a strong bond with the outdoor and wildlife-loving buddies there. They would take to the trails on horseback and finish off with a bit of line dancing at the local. He was a champion and pal to all four footed critters big or small – all recipients of Bill’s friendly pats or one of his special treats.
On Christmas morning Bill’s kids would all get a call from on top of Superstition Mountain. Along with a favourite dog in tow and his infamous black coffee in hand, he would fight the airwaves for some semblance of a telephone signal.
Bill made friends wherever he roamed and folks were automatically drawn to him. Yet there was a reflective side to him too. He cherished his alone time when he would bang out his sweet, funny, sometimes corny or profound poetry and prose on his (no-spell-check) manual typewriter.
Bill fought his demons, and over the years, he did some winning. He struggled with his addiction to alcohol, but in mid-life, thanks to AA, he was “off the booze” for the rest of his life. He was a regular and familiar face at meetings wherever he resided and became a cherished mentor to many others who also struggled. With that stubborn Irish determination, the Twelve Steps, and trust in his God, he finally accepted the things he could not change, the courage to change the things he could, and the wisdom to know the difference. Bill arrived at peace within himself.
The family would like to thank wonderful staff at Wexford Creek – Cottage 3 for the loving care they gave to Bill during his time with them.