It's taken me a while to post this. My father, Ed McLaughlin passed away back on July 7th, 2015. He went peacefully, in his own home, surrounded by family and friends. I was so fortunate to have had the chance to be there at his side, able to talk to him for 2 full days before he passed, and be right there for him as he left this world. I'll treasure the last words of wisdom my Dad imparted to me always. I wanted to honor him here on my blog by re-posting the tribute that his long time employer NBC 12 WWBT in Richmond, VA produced in remembrance of my father.
Also, his obituary from the Richmond Times Dispatch on July 8th, 2015:
Pioneering WWBT reporter Ed McLaughlin dead at 78
Former WWBT-TV reporter Ed McLaughlin was among the first black on-air television correspondents in the Richmond area and helped to inspire a new generation of journalists. Mr. McLaughlin recognized his role as a pioneer in the television news business, but “it was more important for him to be recognized as a good journalist,” said his wife, Kay McLaughlin. Mr. McLaughlin, 78, died Tuesday after battling cancer. He had worked at Channel 12 from 1969 until his retirement in 2000.
“I can almost remember how I felt when my little brother called me from the other room and said, ‘Look, there’s someone that looks just like you on television,’” said Diane Walker, now an anchor at the station. “As a kid, I can remember holding a brush pretending to be a reporter. He was always teasing me about it. When it actually happened where we saw an African-American reporter, it was just amazing.
“That was an inspiration that sealed my dream that it was possible to pursue a career in television journalism, and I felt honored eventually to end up here working alongside him,” she said.
Colleagues remember Mr. McLaughlin for his commanding voice, collected presentation and as a stickler for grammar and diction.
“It’s weird, I can hear his voice,” said the station’s news director, Frank Jones. “Ed just had this amazing voice, and he really knew how to pick the right words to tell a story.”
Mr. McLaughlin kept a dictionary and thesaurus on his desk at all times and had a penchant for using big words, much to the dismay of some news directors and producers. “When someone would call him out on it, he would say, ‘My job is to educate these viewers,’ ” said Sabrina Squire, who joined the station in 1981 and now co-anchors the station’s nightly newscasts. “Ed wouldn’t hear it.”
Walker and Squire said Mr. McLaughlin mentored young reporters.
“The most difficult thing as a reporter is deciding what to leave out, and I learned that from watching him,” Walker said. “I remember him being extremely serious, but never taking what he did too seriously. One of his famous lines was, ‘This isn’t brain surgery.’”
For years, Mr. McLaughlin served as the newsroom’s institutional memory — “what happened in Richmond and why it was important,” said WWBT’s general manager, Kym Grinnage.
“He was an old-fashioned journalist, and I mean that in a good way,” he said.
He was inducted into the Richmond Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2000.
After retiring, Mr. McLaughlin traveled with his wife to the Caribbean, Mexico and France. In addition to traveling, he loved to garden and fish.
The couple met in 1974 when they were neighbors.
“He loved the news business — meeting people, going interesting places,” Kay McLaughlin said. “I think he did an excellent job at what he loved.”
No public funeral service will be held, as was Mr. McLaughlin’s request.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Harry McLaughlin.
We were so fortunate to have my father and his wife Kay visit back in April of 2015. They got to see their grandsons Leo and Ian and spend some quality time. We had a feeling then this may be the last time my father would visit California and see the grandkids (and my Dad certainly felt so, hence he wanted to make the trip in the first place) but we didn't realize of course it really would be. Now I'm just so grateful for every moment I did get to spend with my father.
I'll miss you greatly, Dad.