By John Lynds
Jean M. (Smith) McLaughlin, who served as special assistant for three Boston mayoral administrations, has died.
Mrs. McLaughlin, a lifelong Charlestown resident and forty-year employee of the City of Boston that included serving Mayor Raymond Flynn, Mayor Thomas Menino and more recently Mayor Martin Walsh, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, February 22 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She was 75 years old.
Mrs. McLaughlin was born in Taunton, Massachusetts on October 29, 1941, the daughter of the late Robert Smith and Florence (Barker) Smith. She grew up in Charlestown where she was educated in the Boston Public School system and graduated from Charlestown High School in 1959.
Mrs. McLaughlin worked for over four decades for the City of Boston and began her career with the city as a Crossing Guard for the Boston Public Schools in Charlestown.
Later she moved on to serve as Special Assistant to three mayors beginning with Mayor Raymond Flynn and ending with Mayor Martin Walsh.
“Jean (McLaughlin) worked for four mayors in the City of Boston, and her knowledge of City Hall and the people who have passed through the Mayor’s Office was incredible,” said Mayor Walsh. “She was a fixture at the front desk and she always treated everyone the same, regardless of who they were, when they came to see the Mayor. Jean was truly part of the fabric of Boston and she will be greatly missed by so many. My thoughts and prayers are with her entire family.”
Mrs. McLaughlin was know as someone who would take great pride in helping anyone in the City of Boston. During her tenure as Special Assistant she fielded numerous questions or complaints for the Mayor’s office as was always able to resolve the issues constituents throughout the city may have had.
“I have known Jean McLaughlin since my early days at City Hall,” said Charlestown City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “I have always enjoyed stopping by her desk in the Mayor’s reception area where we always chatted and joked about Charlestown and the city. She really cared about people and would always call my office looking to help people. I will miss her laugh and I know that she will be truly missed at City Hall.”
Mrs. McLaughlin was a member of the Old Charlestown Schoolgirl’s Association and former member of The Daughters of Isabella # 1 and former Board Member of The Dennis McLaughlin House in Boston.
“Jean (McLaughlin) was another neighborhood icon that will be greatly missed,” said State Representative Dan Ryan. “But, I’ll miss her most on my visits to City Hall. When Jean was at the desk, I knew I was in good hands. Even though her greeting started with an interrogation something like this, ‘Here comes trouble! What are you doing here now?’ Then she would whisper her two cents, which wasn’t really a whisper. She was a loyal public servant, loyal to each mayor she served. But, you always felt the neighborhood of Charlestown came first with Jean. We will all miss her.”
In the end, those who knew her best say throughout her life, Mrs. McLaughlin’s greatest joy was the quality time she was able to spend with her beloved family, friends as well as helping anyone who needed a hand.
“She was a good caring person,” said longtime friend Ruth Gorman. “She was always there to give you a helping hand. Jean (McLaughlin) was a really generous person that always took care of the Charlestown kids and the people of Charlestown.”
Mrs. Gorman befriended Mrs. McLaughlin 47 years ago after Mrs. Gorman’s husband passed away.
“We both grew up in Charlestown but became very close 47 years ago,” said Gorman. “She loved Bunker Hill Day and was always at my house during the parade. But above all she loved her neighborhood and if she could do anything for anyone she would. We have lost one of the biggest advocates for Charlestown with the passing of Jean.”
Mrs. McLaughlin was the wife of the late E. Dennis McLaughlin. She was the mother of Denise Dagle and her husband, Michael, Dennis McLaughlin, Jeanmarie McLaughlin and Stephanie McLaughlin. She was Nana to Philip, Kevin, Michelle, Dennis, Nina-Rose, Nicole, Amanda, Bridget, Jaclyn, Adam, Erin, Andrew, Morrigan, Declan and ‘Nana The Great’ to Cassidy, Gavin, Michael, Madeline, Padriac and Sicilia. She was the sister of Virginia Buckley and her husband, Kevin, Bobby Smith and his wife, Mary, Tommy Smith, Mary Smith and the late Helen Fidler and her surviving husband, John. She was also lovingly survived by several nieces and nephews.
Donation in Mrs. McLaughlin’s name can be made to The Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, 15 Green St. Charlestown, Mass. 02129