Folks who were fortunate enough to know Richard Laughrin can attest that he somehow seemed to be privy to the illusive ‘secret of life’. He certainly knew how to live it to its fullest and on his own terms, balancing his years of hard work with equal amounts of fun, love and happiness. Throughout the course of his time on this planet Richard’s unfettered spirit attracted friends from all walks of life, forming strong, loyal bonds that still remain unbroken even after his passing.
Richard was born to Imperial Valley pioneers Richard and Mabel Laughrin on February 16, 1932 and spent his early years living and learning the life of a rancher’s son. He graduated from Brawley Union High School in 1950 where he played football and he proudly served his country in the US Army in Korea during the war. He was staunchly community-minded and extremely proud of his 63-year Life Membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks where he served as Treasurer for many years. In 1965 Richard married Marilyn, the love of his life, and together they owned and operated Mann Company, a petroleum distributorship that served the fuel needs of farms and ranches throughout the Imperial Valley. Richard was a committed father, friend and businessman and his sometimes gruff exterior tried hard but failed at concealing a heart that was rich in sentiment and as big as Texas, the state which he called his second home. He spread his love almost equally between family, his country, NASCAR, the San Diego Chargers and enjoying the occasional Budweiser served with friends at an exact 32-degrees Fahrenheit.
Family members have spent the last few days re-living the tall tales and reminiscing the people that made up the colorful collage of Richard’s life: Marilyn, Ruth, daughters Joyce Chronister, Debbie Laughrin and Laurie Halfpenny, sons Danny Laughrin and John and Scott Finnell, sons and daughters-in-law Bob Chronister, Kim Finnell, Julie Finnell and Jim Halfpenny, seven grand and fourteen great-grand children, and friends too numerous to count.
We will all miss Richard – family, friends, business colleagues, Elks members, the countless strangers he entertained during his life’s travels – each and every one us. Whether Richard actually knew the true secret of life, that we’ll never know, but as of Saturday, March 26, 2016 he surely knows the answer to that infinite question that Man has pondered throughout the ages and he’s patiently waiting with a lively group of passed loved ones to greet each of us when we join him on that next level of existence.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that you send a donation to Brawley Elks #1420 Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1299, Brawley, CA 92227. Please join Richard’s family for a tribute and celebration of his life on Friday, April 1st at 11:30 at The Stockmen’s Club in Brawley.