Elizabeth Derrick Laughlin
September 2, 1957 – January 4, 2019
Elizabeth "Beth" Derrick Laughlin, 61, of Waynesboro, was welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven on Friday, January 4, 2019. She died peacefully at Sentara RMH Medical Center surrounded by her loving family. Beth was the beloved daughter of Dillard Chappell Laughlin and the late Jane (Thompson) Laughlin. She was born on September 2, 1957, in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Arlington.
At the age of 14, a diving accident at her family’s beloved Sandy Point cottage on the Potomac River left Beth paralyzed from the chest down, however with strength and determination and the hands and hearts of many angels, she courageously persevered to live a full and Christian faith-filled life with her disability. Beth graduated from Yorktown High School in 1975 and earned her B.A. degree in Elementary Education at St. Andrews College in North Carolina in 1980. Beth pursued her passion to help others by completing her Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Virginia in 1984. She then enjoyed a 30-year career working with stroke and head injury patients at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, where she had once been a patient herself. Retiring in 2015, Beth continued to give back to the communities she loved by serving as President of the Sandy Point HOA, hosting prayer groups in her home, and until her passing was a volunteer greeter for the Historic Wayne Theatre/Ross Performing Arts Center.
As a long term member of First Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro, she served as Sunday school teacher, Bible Study leader, Deacon, Elder and sang in music ensembles. During recent years Beth followed her faith family to Hope Community Church in Waynesboro and served as prayer coordinator. She nourished those around her with her faith, kindness and gentle spirit. She graciously led not by words, but by example, and showed us all how to be more optimistic, more generous and more loving. Beth laughed easily, listened intently, and enjoyed fellowship with old and new friends. She selflessly treated all people with patience and grace to inspire all of us to love unconditionally as she did so effortlessly. Her faith was the cornerstone of her world, and her beloved are comforted in knowing that she is now home. In her spare time, Beth enjoyed fellowship, music, reading, gardening, cooking, playing cards, attending local events, and watching sports - especially her Virginia Cavaliers and Washington Redskins. Above all, she enjoyed spending time with her family. Although travel was difficult and complicated, there was nothing Beth loved more than participating in the milestone events of her family: weddings, baptisms, birthdays, sporting events, graduations, etc. Beth’s favorite place in this world was her family’s cottage at Sandy Point in Kinsale. Although the scene of her life-changing accident, the wonderful memories she shared with friends and family made "the river" her peaceful sanctuary.
Beth is predeceased by her mother, Jane Laughlin, along with her black Labrador, Shenan.
Left to cherish her loving spirit is her father, Dillard Laughlin of Waynesboro; three brothers: Dillard Laughlin, Jr. of Richmond, David Laughlin (Charlotte) of Vienna, and Andrew Laughlin (LeAnne) of Charlotte, North Carolina; five adoring nephews, Trey Laughlin, Thomas Laughlin, Will Laughlin, John Laughlin and Sam Laughlin; one niece and proud namesake, Liza Laughlin; her long-term care provider, Carolyn Taylor; aunts, uncles and cousins; and countless friends whose lives Beth has forever touched. Thank you to all those who enriched Beth’s life with your gift of friendship. The family is also thankful to her additional caregivers Patrice Winston, Gwen Stephenson, and Sandra Pendleton; and to Dr. Glen Holman for his compassion and support. A service to celebrate Beth's life will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 2 pm at Waynesboro Church of the Brethren, 364 Bridge Ave., Waynesboro, with Dr. Glen Holman, Pastor of Hope Community Church, officiating. A reception will follow at Waynesboro Country Club, 1117 Meadowbrook Rd., Waynesboro. In lieu of flowers, Beth would love donations to be made to the Hope Community Church, P.O. Box 1602, Waynesboro, VA 22980 or The Kinsale Foundation, P.O. Box 307, Kinsale, VA 22488. Arrangements are in the care of the Waynesboro Chapel of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes. Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories online with the family by visiting www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com.
A Celebration of Life Service
Waynesboro Church of the Brethren
Elizabeth Derrick Laughlin
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Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
January 18, 2019
I was so saddened to hear of Beth's passing. I hope she is dancing in Heaven with Jesus as I write this! Beth and I shared a lot. She graduated from UVA just ahead of me with her master's in speech-language pathology; I joined her at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center after that where we were both Clinical Fellows together. We were colleagues and friends. Even though I moved back to my hometown, Richmond, VA, I would connect with Beth at conferences, sometimes on the phone, and in recent years a few times on Facebook after seeing each other at a retirement party at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. I always admired how she lived: boldly and with intention, courageously living and not allowing a disability to define her or keep her from living to the fullest. She lived as an example to the clients we worked with in rehabilitation. She always offered a smile, which I will never forget. We shared friendship and laughter. We even shared the same name! Blessings and prayers to her family! Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
--I will miss you, Beth. May you enjoy all the blessings of Christ's love in Heaven--one day I will share that with you, too!
Love, Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
January 18, 2019
Beth and I met at Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center in 1969. She was injured in a diving accident at the age of fourteen and I was injured playing in a high school football game at the age of fifteen. Our injuries were similar and we struck up a lifelong friendship. While I attended a local community college she got in touch with me about St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC. I transferred my Associate in Science Degree to St. Andrews where Beth and I renewed our friendship. She was a true and caring friend. We shared many things in common due to our similar disabilities. I loved her smile. We kept in touch exchanging Christmas cards every year. I will miss hearing from her. She would always fill me in on what she and her family had been up to. To her family I express my deepest sympathies. She loved you dearly. She and I were family too.
January 11, 2019
I am so sad to lose Beth Laughlin. From learning to play bridge on our screened porch as a teenager, to attaining a full career, and last conversation I had with her she was retired but still planned to write a book....she was so encouraging and motivational to all around her. She said her faith got her through it all. She leaves a sweet mark on my world, for sure. My condolences to all the family and friends.
January 9, 2019
I came to know Beth as neighbors at Sand Point. Her accident was a shock, her life after was in inspiration! Her love for life, god and friends showed in everything she did. I will always remember her beautiful smile and the light in her eyes.
January 8, 2019
We worked together from 1991 to 2014 and in that time I came to know an amazing individual. You took your job very seriously. So seriously in fact, that your clients came back to see you over the years. It was so heart warming! We were close, especially in our faith and shared our passion for Christ. You shared with me your wish to walk free one day.
I saw you this past October at the hospital and we hugged. I am so glad that God led our paths to meet that day. You are free now my friend. I look forward to the day we will meet again. God bless!
January 7, 2019
This world has lost a precious soul. Beth was my mentor and later my coworker for 17 years. She made me laugh and tried to get me to slow down and breathe. She was a loyal friend and dedicated to her patients. I had a dream about her a week prior to her passing and she was walking. Now, I know that she’s walking, running, hanging out with Jesus, as well as her mom. There will always be a void in her absence but we will see each other again.