Robert Francis McLaughlin, AKA “Bobby”, “Tobby”, and mostly “Toby”, 82, left this cluttered plane of life on March 29, 2018, on Holy Thursday. How fitting it should occur on this day when his Lord gave us the gift of the Eucharist, the greatest gift he has ever given. Toby drew his last breath with, Carol, his loving wife of 60 years by his side.
Born on February 14 or 15, 1936, his parents always argued the date but settled (and it was) on the 15th. He lived on Munjoy Hill in a mixed ethnic neighborhood. What a wonderful life experience this was for him. He was the youngest of 8 brothers and sisters. Toby was loved by all. He had a way of connecting with everyone he met. His kind soul, cadence, storytelling, music, and Irish spirit were some of his most treasured qualities. His ability to tell a story and meet people was his art. He was a born Irish storyteller and musician. The piano, keyboard, drums, and harmonica are just some of the musical instruments he would entertain with. His voice was kind and captivating. He had a wonderful knack for having a joke to fit any circumstance he was in, and it was always well received and funny! He also swam competitively and played ice hockey. He enjoyed rooting for the New England teams (loyal fan of the Red Sox, Patriots) and local traditional boxing matches. He was an amazing cook. You would never go hungry in his kitchen. His specialties were great popcorn scrambled eggs, tomato sauce, and his fantastic baked beans! He was always willing to sit and enjoy the company of others. It was a kind of kindred spirit that drew people to him. He was humble and had a wonderful sense of humor that captivated everyone he met. He enjoyed traveling, meeting new people and loved eating good food with friends old and new. He loved his family and friends so very much. He would just find the good in everyone he would meet. A stranger to him was only a person he had not yet made friends with.
Toby was born with the gift of Irish storytelling which became dim but never eradicated by the Alzheimer/Dementia that affected him so greatly over the last several years of his life. Even with the disease process making memories harder to hold on to he was able to remember his Great-Grandchildren which he loved immensely. He had nothing but love for the littles in his life. You’d always find one of them crawling up into his lap. The children were so drawn to him, he was such a love.
Toby attended school in Portland and was to be part of the graduating class of 1956, but he interrupted this by enlisting in the Air Force during the Korean War. He completed his high school diploma upon returning home and went on to take some courses at USM. Toby was proud of his military service and the contribution he made in helping to set up the Aerial Morgue in Dover, Delaware, which was his first assignment after basic training.
His first employment was in high school at Nissen's Bakery. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he worked in several industries, always moving up with wages and benefits to his final position with Sanborn Motor Express. Each of those good companies he worked for are now gone. How he bemoaned that fact!
He held membership in the DAV, Amvets, Irish American Club, Irish Heritage Club, Hibernian Club, and Southern Maine Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni Association.
He was preceded in death by: his parents Louis Benedict McLaughlin and Dorothy Elizabeth (Bohan) McLaughlin; siblings Louis McLaughlin, Eugene McLaughlin, Philip McLaughlin, Gene McLaughlin, Charles McLaughlin, Mary Lou (McLaughlin) Anderson, Patricia (McLaughlin) DiPietro; as well as many dear family members and friends.
He is survived by: his beloved wife of 60 years Carol Ann (Legere) McLaughlin; much loved son Robert F. McLaughlin and his wife Lisa; former daughter-in-law, Cheryl McLaughlin, the mother of his two beautiful grandchildren, whom he also loved and cherished dearly; grandchildren Jacob Edward McLaughlin and Alicia (McLaughlin) Wilson. He also was blessed with three beautiful great-grand children, Audrey Kathleen McLaughlin, Eva Parker Wilson and Tobin Locke Wilson. He loved his grandchildren and great-grand children so very much. He is also survived by a sister Elizabeth (McLaughlin) Schwaller; special “brother” Ronald Legere and “sister” Nancy Legere; as well as many family members and friends that he loved and enjoyed the company of. Among the extra special and helpful people in his life were Aunt Pauline Ham, Nash, Jean “Jeep”, Virginia, Joe, Betsy, Peter, Greg, Maryanne, Chuck, Lydia, Mark, Vivian, Dr. James Zeitlin and Kathy, In-Home Senior Service workers, most especially April and Barb, as well as the 4th Floor Nursing Staff at Mercy Hospital for the wonderful nursing care he received during his last week. Kudos to you all! And to anyone unintentionally omitted.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, April 5th at 10 am at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland with the Reverend Francis Morin officiating. Following this will be entombment at New Calvary Cemetery in South Portland at the Legere Crypt with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, if desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Southern Maine Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni Association, www.bgcmaine.org.