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Harold B. "Mac" McLaughlin

October 31, 1928 January 10, 2020
Harold B.  "Mac" McLaughlin
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Obituary for Harold B. "Mac" McLaughlin

Harold (Mac) McLaughlin passed away after a short illness on January 10, 2020 at Peace Hospice in Great Falls at the age of 91. He was born on October 31, 1928 to Charles and Anna McLaughlin in Woonsocket, RI, the second of six children. He always wondered whether he was born or found in the pumpkin patch on Halloween, or perhaps whether a witch had dropped him off rather than the stork. After an eventful and adventurous childhood – being a bit of a rebel in strict Catholic schools where the nuns tried to straighten him out – he boarded a train headed for Farragut College in Idaho to play football. Being a naïve New Englander, he looked at a map, mistook Ohio for Idaho, and thought he wouldn’t be too far from home. After transferring to Montana State University in Missoula (now the University of Montana), he met his future wife, Nanette Newport. They married on November 12, 1950 and started a life together.

He started his working life as a shoe salesman at JC Penney to support his family. In 1952, he began as a trainee with what is now the Montana Department of Health & Human Services then took his family to Lincoln, Chouteau, Blaine, and finally Cascade counties. He advanced from Caseworker to Supervisor and Administrator. In 1972 he spent six months drafting the initial administrative rules for two divisions of the Department. In 1990 he was named Outstanding State Employee.

Always very civic-minded and kid-minded, he volunteered in numerous roles in his life. He was a volunteer ambulance attendant in Chinook for many years. He began coaching the Chinook Swim Club in 1958, and until 1971 he taught many, many Chinook kids the value of athletics, mental toughness, and teamwork. As a coach, he became involved in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and he and Nan touched many more young lives in his roles as coach, administrator, and committee representative at both local and national levels. He received recognition from the Chinook PTA with a Golden Apple award, Life Membership in the Montana Coaches’ Association, as well as numerous AAU local and national awards. He and Nan made many friends and made memorable trips around the country to AAU conventions.

After moving to Great Falls, he continued his civic duties by serving on several boards and committees, including terms on advisory boards for Montana Blue Cross and Columbus Hospital; 15 years as AARP volunteer tax preparer and instructor; assisted in creating the Great Falls Indian Action Council, and other endeavors.

Even though his kids were grown, he stayed involved in youth sports, volunteering his time at track meets, wrestling tournaments, swimming and diving meets and more. Then the grandkids started coming along and it was back to teaching, encouraging and supporting all their activities. He seldom missed a game, meet, concert, play, recital or any other activity.

Mac is survived by his wife of 69 years, Nanette McLaughlin; daughters Barb (Mel) Zuidema, Kathleen (Gary) Brady, and Patricia (Dean) Boyle; grandchildren Josh Zuidema, Melanie Zuidema, Sarah Bates, Rebecca Scanson, Paul Brady, Matthew Brady, Michelle Berglee, and Robert Boyle; 17 great grandchildren with another on the way; and one great great grandchild on the way. He is also survived by a sister, Betty Harnois and a brother, Peter McLaughlin. He was preceded in death by his parents, and siblings Kathryn Hoffman, Maureen Sherman, and Charles McLaughlin.

He requested no services, but a Celebration of Life will be held on January 26th at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M.

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Previous Events

Celebration of Life

Sunday

26

Jan

1:30 PM 1/26/2020 1:30:00 PM - 4:00 PM 1/26/2020 4:00:00 PM
Heritage Inn

1700 Fox Farm Rd.
Great Falls, MT 59404

Heritage Inn
1700 Fox Farm Rd. Great Falls 59404 MT
United States
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