Creating Alaska

George M. McLaughlin

Name: George M. McLaughlin

City: Anchorage

District: 18

Occupation: Lawyer

Born: December 19, 1914 - Hempstead, New York

Death: June 23, 1958 - Anchorage, Alaska

Burial Location: Fort Richardson Cemetery - Fort Richardson, Alaska

Alaska Resident: 1949-58

Convention Posts:

  • Chair, Committee on Judicial Branch
  • Member, Committee on Style and Drafting
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Committees

Education: St. Peter's College, Fordham University School of Law

Public Offices and Organizations:

  • City Magistrate, Anchorage - 1952-55
  • Municipal Judge, Anchorage
  • Deputy Chief of Staff - Alaska National Guard

Honors Received: Anchorage Youth Center named in his honor

Further Information:

Quote from the Constitutional Convention:

MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Coghill, in the course of your inquiry you have already described what "incapacitated" covers. It is a multitude of sins and it was deliberately devised that way because of the fact that in most states you discovered that nobody likes to take a removal proceedings on specific grounds where there is a taint of incompetency, or criminality attached to it, so we used the broad general expression, "incapacitated", to take care of all the ills and evils to which judges, like other mortals, are subject. It is a gracious way out of it.

COGHILL: In other words, by this phrase "so incapacitated" he could be incapacitated for being a Republican judge under a Democratic administration.

MCLAUGHLIN: That would not be incapacitated. It might be as someone suggested, bad judgment. (Laughter)

-Delegates Jack Coghill and George McLaughlin, Day 60 of the Constitutional Convention, speaking about impeachment process laid out in the Alaska State Constitution.

George McLaughlin Dies Here of Heart Attack

George M. McLaughlin, wide­ly known attorney and member of the Constitutional Convention, died of a heart attack Sunday morning at his home in Turnagain Apartments. He was 44 years old.

McLaughlin, a member of the Territorial Board of Juvenile Institutions, was a former city magistrate.

His sudden death caused shock and grief in the legal profession and among a wide group of friends.

An Anchorage resident for 10 years, he was elected for two terms as city magistrate. He worked with the real estate office of the Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base while waiting to take the Alaska bar examination. He was associated with attorneys Ray Plummer and Ed Arnell at that time. At the time of his death he was associated with attorney Kenneth Atkinson. He went into law practice here in 1950.

McLaughlin is survived by his wife, Ruth; a daughter, Frances, 6, and a son, Michael, 4. Funeral arrangements are pending at Anchorage Funeral Chapel. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Alaska Crippled Children's Assn's treatment center for purchase of equipment.

He also is survived by one sister, Mrs. Arthur Carson, Long Island, N.Y., and four brothers, Robert, Long Island; Malcolm, Newcastle, Pa.; Edward, of Merrick, N.Y., and John, of Brooklyn. Another brother, Francis, was killed in the Korean War and is buried at Ft. Richardson.

McLaughlin was born in 1914 in New York. He graduated magna cum laude from the Fordham University School of Law in 1938. An outstanding law student, he was editor of Fordham Law Review 1936-38. He also had attended St. Peter's College, Jersey City, N.J.

He served in World War II, in the China-Burma-India campaign, as a member of Merrill's Marauders, and received several military decorations. He started as a private and became a major in Infantry. He received the Combat Infantry Badge; American Defense and American Theater decorations; Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon with four bronze stars; World War II Victory Medal. He served as an adjutant general of the Chinese Combat Command and Formosa Group Command, receiving a decoration from the Republic of China for his services.

McLaughlin was Greek vice consul here and assisted in the adoption locally of several Greek children, working with the Greek Order of Ahepa.

As a member of the Constitutional Convention, he served as chairman of the committee which drafted the judiciary article of the constitution for the new state.

He was campaign manager for William Egan, who was elected a Tennessee Plan senator. More recently, he served as primary campaign manager for Tom Moore, Democratic candidate for territorial commissioner of labor. He was very active in Democratic party circles.

Following World War II, McLaughlin had served on the Foreign Claims Commission of the Army, which adjudicated all outstanding claims against the United States.

McLaughlin was a charter member of the Family Counseling Service here. He helped in the organization of the 207th Infantry Battalion of the Alaska National Guard.

McLaughlin also was active in an organization here of which he was particularly fond —the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

Interested in the early history of Alaska, he collected many books, art and documents including two old etchings showing Alaska during the time of Captain Cook's explorations.

Source: Anchorage Daily News – June 22, 1958