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February 22, 2013
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Obituary: Richard Dennis McLaughlin

Richard (“Rick”) Dennis McLaughlin, resident of Redwood City, CA, died unexpectedly on Sunday, August 12, 2012, while playing volleyball at Lake Tahoe. An avid volleyball player for over 35 years, Rick often said that he could think of no better way to go.Born in Windsor, Canada, on December 4, 1949, to John and Phyllis McLaughlin, Rick was the youngest of five boys. In 1955, the family moved to Lincoln Park, Michigan, where Rick attended Christ the Good Shepherd grade school and enjoyed building model airplanes as a hobby. In 1964, Rick and his parents moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where they had spent many a summer vacation. There Rick attended St. Mary’s High School, took up horseback riding, and worked at a stable where he boarded and cared for his horse. In 1967, the family moved to California, where Rick completed his senior year at Costa Mesa High School in 1968. It was in California that Rick first experienced the lure of the sand at the beach and in the desert. He frequently explored the desert on his motorcycle and on rides with friends from the “Harbor VW Association.” A gifted mechanic, Rick thoroughly enjoyed working on cars and motorcycles. In 1975, Rick combined his mechanical talents and his life-long love of airplanes by enrolling in the Aandamp;P Technology program at Orange Coast College where he earned his AA certificate and an Aandamp;P license in 1978. Upon receiving his Aandamp;P license Rick moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked for a number of different companies including American Airlines, Aviation Methods, Utah International and Pinole Point Steel. In 1988, Rick founded his own independent corporate maintenance and consulting business, “JetAssist Aviation,” which he owned and operated for 24 years. Highly respected in his field, Rick was frequently called upon by others for advice. He loved talking about his work and was a great listener as well. He jokingly referred to himself as the “Ann Landers” or “Rhona Barrett” of the aviation world. Rick’s easy-going and friendly nature endeared him to many in his profession and in his personal life.Outside of work Rick had a passion for volleyball — he loved playing, watching and talking about the game. A self-professed “volleyball idiot,” Rick pushed himself to his very physical limits while playing the game — loving every minute of it.Rick is survived by the love of his life Jan Shoemaker, her children Tiffany Sargent and Ben Jones, his brothers Jack and Michael, all of California, his aunt and uncle, Suzanne and Denton Grenke of Canada, his aunt Claire Heise of Michigan, his sister-in-law Judy McLaughlin of Arizona, and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Thomas and David. Rick was buried at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach, CA. A celebration of Rick’s life will be held in the picnic area near the sand volleyball courts at Stanford on Sunday, September 23 at noon. Please RSVP to Jan at 650-339-4524 or

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The Record Courier Updated Sep 19, 2012 01:18PM Published Sep 19, 2012 01:17PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.