September 25, 1949 - November 11, 2023
In Loving Memory ~
Joe McLaughlin died peacefully on November 11, 2023, at the age of 74. Joe was born in Calgary, AB, younger brother to Maureen. His first years were spent in the house his dad Dennis built, next door to lifelong friends, the Durrants.
His mother Susan (née Duffy) died in 1952 when Dennis (a.k.a. Mike) was serving with the Canadian military in Korea. Dennis's sister Kathleen and her young son Denny came from Edmonton to help take care of Joe and Maureen. Joe was forever grateful to his Auntie Kath, not least because she was such a great Irish storyteller.
His father later married Emilie and adopted her son John. The two boys were born one month apart, and they became inseparable. The family moved to CFB Petawawa, ON, in 1960, where the boys played hockey all winter and fished, biked and played baseball all summer.
As teenagers, Joe and Johnny picked wild blueberries and sold them door-to-door to raise money to buy their first canoe together. Joe could never resist revealing that the best blueberries grew in the long-abandoned latrines dug by soldiers on training exercises.
The family returned to Calgary, where Joe graduated from St. Mary's Boys' High School in 1968. After studying journalism at Mount Royal College, he moved to Red Deer in 1978 to start his career with the Red Deer Advocate.
He married Priscilla (née Howes) in 1980 and they immediately bought the "worst house on the best street," which meant a lifelong dedication to renovating and fun times with the neighbours. Canoeing the rivers and lakes of central Alberta became another hobby.
Joe and Priscilla raised two much-loved children, Megan and Neal. Joe was the kind of dad who built backyard skating rinks and coached sports teams, so it was no surprise that his support for his kids, and their friends, was just as "extreme" as their interests.
Joe built BMX bike ramps up and over deck railings and jumps all over the yard, and learned to snowboard in his forties. He never let his ego get in the way of a good time.
Joe's career at the Red Deer Advocate spanned three decades, including a 25-year tenure as the managing editor, where his steady guidance and strong sense of responsibility created an award-winning newspaper. He cherished all the good and challenging times with his colleagues and was focused on serving the community he loved. His principled approach often led to lively engagement as a result of his editorials.
He also served on advisory boards for the journalism programs at Grant MacEwan College and SAIT, helping to ensure that the next generation of journalists shared his commitment to quality.
Joe retired in 2009, making more time for fly fishing in central Alberta and the West Coast. The annual pilgrimage to Vancouver Island MusicFest to reconnect with the Axanis and Volkarts, lifelong friends and former neighbours, was another joy.
Joe is survived by his wife Priscilla; children Megan and Neal; sister Maureen; sisters-in-law Emmy and Lorraine; brother-in-law Brian (Barbara); nieces Gail (Tim), Shannon (Dan), Kimberly and Amanda; nephews Dean (Maureen), Charles (Brenda), Steven (Kelly); and many grandnieces and grandnephews.
Joe was preceded in death by his mother Susan, father Dennis, stepmother Emilie, stepbrother John, nephew Michael, and brothers-in-law Jack and Glenn. Thank you to Dr. Colin Holmes, Dr. Regina Donnelly, Dr. Brent Mitchell, and especially to Craig and all the Horizon staff at the Centennial Centre in Ponoka.
A private family gathering will occur at a later date. Condolences and happy memories can be shared at www.forevermissed.com/joe-mclaughlin/
No flowers please. Donations in Joe's honour may be made to the charity of your choice.