July 1, 1930 - March 22, 2017
Rest in Peace
Norman C. McLaughlin, a longtime Catholic education administrator and social justice activist in Western New York, died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 86.
Mr. McLaughlin, who lived in Williamsville, was a longtime educator and advocate of peace and justice causes.
Born in Groveland, Livingston County, he grew up in Buffalo's Lovejoy neighborhood and graduated from Visitation Catholic School, the Little Seminary and Niagara Major Seminary before he was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1954. During his religious career, he served in Holy Name, St. Francis de Sales and St. Bartholomew's parishes.
For 12 years, Mr. McLaughlin was assistant superintendent of schools in the Buffalo Diocese.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Niagara University, bachelor of sacred music degree from Manhattanville College, master's degree in education from Canisius College and a doctoral degree from the Catholic University of America.
After resigning from the priesthood, he married Gloria Tachok, and served as assistant superintendent of the Genesee Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services. While living in Batavia, he served as board president of Hospice of Genesee County, and wrote the certificate of need to obtain the organization's state license. He also won a Humanitarian of the Year award, along with his wife, Gloria, who survives.
Throughout his life he fought for for various causes, serving on the Social Justice Committee of the St. Joseph University Parish and subcommittees on gun violence, the environment and racial justice. He also was a supporter of organizations including Doctors Without Borders, Covenant House, Public Citizen, National Catholic Reporter and Bread for the World.
He enjoyed theater, music, gardening and golf, and was an avid reader of science, scripture, history and politics.
Survivors also include nieces and nephews.
It is with deep sadness that I inform you that my dear, devoted husband, NORMAN C. MCLAUGHLIN died on March 23, 2017. As you know, he was a faithful member since the beginning of your wonderful organization and thoroughly enjoyed your magazine. He would read it the minute it arrived and then proceeded to copy the great articles and share them with other resigned priests in the area, or with lay people who were eager to read them.
We attended St. Joseph University Parish on Main Street in Buffalo NY where at least six or seven resigned priests were members. They and their wives were welcome and the pastor, Father Jacob Ledwin ran a great parish but the personal involvement of the retired clergy was limited. I do not know if that was the choice of the resigned priests or the discomfort of the pastor in testing the limits of the church rules of their laicization.
Norm did assist though in a limited way in the RCIA program and was a very appreciated and welcome teacher at those classes. He stressed what he had learned from the MANY scripture books he constantly read ( Crosson and Borg, Bishop Spong, J.P. Meyer, Anthony Padavano etc.) We attended lectures given at Chautauqua NY during the summer sessions and Norm never lost his commitment to the deep religious meaning of the Holy Books. In his RCIA classes, he always stressed that, as Crosson says: “ It was not that the Scripture writers wrote literally and we took them poetically but that they wrote them poetically and we take them literally.” (I am not sure I have the quote exactly accurate, but I am sure all of your members will know it immediately.)
Though Norm was a very committed priest for seventeen years, when he asked for laicization (in 1971, Bishop McNulty as our Bishop at the time) his case was denied at first, then, after a year plus, it was granted and we were married in the Bishop’s residence with only two witnesses and no family present and without a Mass. My parents and Norm’s mother were alive when this happened and it would have been comforting for them to know that we did it correctly; we followed all the church’s rules and tried to be witnesses to fidelity and to married love. Norm was an exceptional husband and we enjoyed 44 years of married life, without children given our ages at the time, he served as Asst. Superintendent of our area’s BOCES and I ended my 40 year career as a music teacher.
When we retired, we performed many activities in our community of Batavia where we lived at the time. We received the highest honor given in the county : HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR, for our work. At St. Joseph’s parish, we were faithful members of the Social Justice Committee and Norm also served on several sub-committees; Gun Violence, Racial Justice, Human Trafficking, Environmental and his sage advice and sincere commitment were welcomed and appreciated by all. Norm was an exceptional man who remained a true priest until the minute he died. He never wavered in his commitment to the truest values of the church : the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and the values expressed in the Beatitudes. He was always a seeker and everyone who knew him honored and loved him. Not a bad legacy!