Fr. John Michael McLaughlin

July 25, 1935March 5, 2019

Fr. John M. McLaughlin (1935-2019)

The Reverend John Michael McLaughlin (“Uncle Mickey”) often said: “I’ve had a wonderful life, God has been good to me, and I’m ready to go when he wants me.” God called Fr. John home, March 5, 2019. Known for his love of God, infectious laughter, smile, and dedication to his McLaughlin and parish families, Fr. John was a blessing and inspiration to all he met and will be greatly missed.

Born July 25, 1935 in Argonne, Wisconsin, he was the youngest of 10 children, born to Charles and Marie McLaughlin. In 1939, the family traveled west in a converted 1.5 ton flatbed truck, with canopy and bench seating - the McLaughlin version of a covered wagon. Fr. John attended public schools in the South Bay area of Olympia, until eighth grade, before entering the seminary for 12 years at St. Edward’s Seminary and St. Thomas Seminary, in Kenmore.

He was ordained a priest at St. James Cathedral, on May 20, 1961. He served as Parochial Vicar at St. Monica, Mercer Island and Holy Family, in Seattle. He then served as Pastor at St. Joseph Parish, in Chehalis, from 1971-1984. He then was assigned as Pastor of St. Joseph, in Elma, until his retirement in 2000. He assisted in the parishes of Lewis County for most of his retirement years.

Fr. John’s passions were God, his family and parishioners, hunting, hiking, kayaking and storytelling. He has always been “Uncle Mickey” to his “200 nieces and nephews” (his count). The annual reunion potluck couldn’t begin until he arrived and said grace. From our earliest memories, he has been a familial and spiritual presence in our lives. Born the son of two carpenters, Jesus and Charles, he was often fixing a roof or making restorations on his parish buildings, or building kayaks for trips with the CYO kids. Fr. John enjoyed kayak trips to Alaska and the San Juan Islands. In 1969, Fr. John, other priests, and high school students were guided through the night to the summit of Mt. Rainier where they celebrated mass, upon early morning arrival.

Fr. John is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Marie McLaughlin, his siblings Catherine Brownell, Phillip McLaughlin, Stanley McLaughlin, Charles McLaughlin, Lawrence McLaughlin, Rita Goldsby, Mary Warren, Donald McLaughlin, and Susan Aarts.

The Rosary will be prayed at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Chehalis, with the Vigil Service beginning at 7:00 p.m., March 20, 2019. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Archbishop Sartain at 11:00 a.m., March 21, at St. Joseph Parish in Chehalis, followed by a reception in the school hall. The Committal Service will be at 3:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Cemetery, Elma, Washington. Arrangements are under the care of Sticklin Funeral Chapel, in Centralia. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Fr. John’s name to St. Joseph School, Chehalis.


  • St. Joseph School


  • Rosary Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Vigil Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, March 21, 2019
  • Committal Service Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fr. John Michael McLaughlin

have a memory or condolence to add?

Pauline Feuling

March 15, 2019

Memories are forever! So very, very many happy fun memories! Kayaking and mountain trips with teenagers; gave him a birthday cake with candles that wouldn't blow out on a kayak trip - oh, such a marvelous laugh. Carpenter work; marriage ceremonies. Such a marvelous voice at masses with no music. What powerful messages he sent in the name of Lord, Jesus.
May his spirit and soul soar on Eagle's Wings in God's Heavenly Kingdom.

The Feulings --Gale, Pauline, Robin, Stephanie & family

Greg Miller

March 14, 2019

A true legend. As an alter boy I received a skull fracture in his church after locking my knees, passing out and hitting the marble floor. I may have drank wine from the sacristy, an a couple a dozen other pranks in his church. As a Catholic school boy I received hacks from this man. He was truly one of the good guys and had a voice that was recognizadely him. Rest in the arms of Jesus Padre.

Tammi Mclaughlin

March 14, 2019

My family lost our beloved Patriarch. My Uncle Mickey...Father John Mclaughlin...has passed out of our world. He was an impressive man who lived a lively life. He climbed mountains, kayaked seas and rivers and hunted just about everything. Listening to him recount his tales in his booming sing songy voice was his gift to me. He was truly a light in a sometimes dark world and he was my shining beacon.

John & Phyllis Brosnahan

March 14, 2019

Father John has been our pastor, priest and personal friend for 39 years. We could tell about all the amazing things and blessings he brought to our family but it would take a book to describe our beloved priest. The angels have guided him to his heavenly and saintly reward with all God's blessings R.I.P. Father. He will be in our prayers and memories always. Love, The Brosnahan Family

Karen Rotter

March 13, 2019

How fitting that Father died in March, the month honoring St Joseph, as he had faithfully pastored at two St Joseph Churches; one in Chehalis and one in Elma (a church hall in Elma bears his name). He is deeply loved by thousands of people, and they have much to share about this saintly, heroic and holy priest. He died during a year when we need the light of good priests, like him, to shine even brighter!

For the Glory of God and in appreciation of all good and holy priests, I offer the following reflection about my encounter through this priest:

When I was on the brink of despair and barely able to speak or get up off the floor, my best friend Grace sent Father McLaughlin to my house. He guided me through Confession and gave me the Sacraments, including Holy Communion. He prayed and counseled me for hours until I was delivered from the “Judas Oppression” that had taken hold to a blessed and holy (albeit painful) road to recovery. Before he left, he blessed my entire house! Totally depending on the power of God, he took authority and “got the job done” —as he has for many others, and over many years.

I am grateful to God for the Healing and Deliverance I received through this priest twenty years ago at a time when I was so beaten down by guilt, abuse and despair I could barely function. How many other souls were healed through this priest over the course of his lifetime? Countless!

Thank God for His faithful servant, and may his precious soul now rest in God’s unimaginable Peace.