George McLaughlin

Obituary of George Alan McLaughlin

 George McLaughlin was born on July 7, 1939, to Don and Vera McLaughlin on their farm near Tamworth, Ontario, only three weeks after King George VI’s tour of Canada. While Don was the fourth generation in the same farmhouse, Vera had emigrated from London, England, and so naming their fourth child was made easy.


George was proud of his humble roots, but just like his regal namesake, he would lead a life of service and cherish his capacity to dignify and lift up the lives of others.


Life on the farm involved hardships, of course, and George, the youngest, would be a teenager before they had electricity and running water. But that makes his sense of community more understandable and his generous nature even more impressive.


George was motivated to finish high school largely on the decision to allow him, as a 12th grader, to drive the school bus full of younger children. Yes, you read that correctly, and he would maintain his professional driver’s license for decades, driving a variety of trucks and buses as a hobby.


At 19, George was the last sibling on the farm when his father asked him if he had thought about doing something else. In 1958, the provincial government was racing to build new schools for a flood of baby boomers, and that offhanded question in the horse stable led to a six-week summer course that led to a rewarding 38-year career as an elementary school principal. 


In 1961, George was assigned to Apsley Public School. A local gal, Dovie Mann, stylish and vivacious, initially rejected the advances of the handsome young educator. But George persevered, and they were married in Apsley on August 22, 1964. They settled in Peterborough, Dovie became a teacher, they made many friends, raised their children, Chris and Lisa, and were always grateful for summers at Beaver Lake close to the farm and extended family.


For a kid not academically inclined, George persevered further – this time with Dovie’s tremendous encouragement – earning a B.A. from Waterloo Lutheran University in 1973 and an M.Ed. from the University of Toronto in 1979. George wrote his thesis about new ways of understanding and meeting the challenges of child behavior and learning outcomes, and he would spend years taking courses in active listening and progressive discipline when many of his contemporaries were still using the strap to “solve” every problem.


George was proud of his career, always mindful that his leadership came with responsibilities to protect and nurture children. Upon retirement in 1996, he dedicated himself to family and volunteerism, eventually moving back to the farm where he had been born. In 2016, George and Dovie made one last move, to a cozy old house on the river in Lakefield.


George is preceded in death by his father and mother, Donald and Vera (Lunnon) McLaughlin, his older sister Kathleen (Kay) Gaffney and her husband Edward, by his older brother Donald Clarence (Clare) McLaughlin and Clare’s son Ian McLaughlin, and by his beloved daughter in law, Tracy (Jolley) McLaughlin, where he would write but scratch out “in law” on cards and notes.


George leaves countless family, friends, former students and colleagues, and other community members to whom he was a beacon of kindness and generosity. Above all, as father to Chris and Lisa and as Papa to future generations, George was the great fortune that comes with scoring childhood’s golden ticket, and they mourn him with a deep sense of pride and admiration.


George is survived by his cherished wife of nearly sixty years, Dovie McLaughlin of Lakefield, Ontario.


George is survived by his daughter Lisa Mace of Apsley, Ontario, and her husband Brad, and by his grandsons Seth McLaughlin LaRose and Zane Mace.


George is survived by his son Chris McLaughlin of Hamilton, Ontario, grandson Simon McLaughlin and granddaughter Avery McLaughlin, by Chris’ wife Nova Reesor, by his step-grandson Eric Reesor and his wife Cassie and their children Roran and Mira, and his step-granddaughter Krysta Reesor and her daughter Kaylee.


George is survived by his older sister Doris Burt and her husband Lawrence of St. Albert, Alberta, by Clare’s wife, Eleanor, of Napanee, Ontario, and by many cousins, nieces, and nephews and their families.


Their collective respect and gratitude for him is immeasurable.


George died peacefully on April 20, 2024, at Extendicare in Lakefield, Ontario.


Arrangements have been entrusted to THE HENDREN FUNERAL HOME – LAKEFIELD CHAPEL. A Celebration of Life for George will be held on Monday, April 29th, 2024 at The Hendren Funeral Home in Lakefield, Ontario (66 Queen Street) from 5:00 PM till 7:00 PM with remarks at 6:00 PM. Guests will be invited to make their own brief reflections at that time. 


A second gathering will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 2024, at George’s favorite watering hole, the Lakeview Tavern in Erinsville, Ontario (5771 Lennox and Addington County Rd 41) from 1:00 PM till 3:00 PM on a drop-in basis. Anyone playing the fiddle will be especially welcome.


As per his wishes, George’s bodily remains have been donated to the School of Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. His family extends their tremendous thanks to the caring and dedicated staff at Extendicare Lakefield. And among their many wonderful friends, there is particular love and affection for Glenda Newson for being there for George and his family through it all.


In George’s memory, those grieving his loss are invited to make memorial donations to The Alzheimer Society of Canada, Kids Help Phone, or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, especially the Peterborough branch, by calling 705-652-3355 or by visiting  


Celebration of Life

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, April 29, 2024
Hendren Funeral Home - Lakefield Chapel
66 Queen Street
Lakefield, Ontario, Canada