Laughlin—Paula Ann Misley Laughlin, 63, on January 8, 2018, in Quakertown, Pa. Paula was born on March 24, 1954, in Yonkers, N.Y., to Madeline Halady and Ernest Misley. When she was six, her family moved to Yorktown Heights, N.Y., to a house on Gomer Street nestled in a four-acre plot behind Sparkle Lake. She loved the many animals on the land, both domestic (cats, dogs, and a duck) and wild (deer, foxes, and snakes). As a child, she enjoyed riding horses, painting, ice skating, and playing the violin and piano.
She graduated from Lakeland High School in 1972; attended Briarcliffe College, graduating at the top of her class with degrees in biology and chemistry; and earned a master’s in forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 1979, she moved to Newtown, Pa., to work for the Bucks County Crime Lab. She met Rich Laughlin in 1981, they married in 1983, and she adopted his son, Scott. In order to spend summers with him, she earned a teaching certificate with a master’s in education from Temple University and taught biology, physics, and forensic science for over 25 years, primarily at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa.
Doylestown (Pa.) Meeting welcomed Paula, Rich, and Scott into membership in 1989. She was a faithful member of several committees, including the Pastoral Concerns Committee and Bucks Quarterly Meeting’s Outreach Committee. In October 1994, she and Rich adopted four-and-a-half-month-old daughter Madeline, called Jee-Hye, from South Korea, and ever since the family celebrated what they call Airplane Day every year. Jee-Hye became a member of Doylestown Meeting by birth. Months later, Paula learned of her daughter’s deafness, and she became a fierce advocate for Jee-Hye, fully embracing the deaf culture and American Sign Language.
For the last 27 years of her life, she and the family lived in two houses in Haycock Township, Pa., allowing her to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning a horse, her beloved Indy. In addition to her many pets over the years, she loved books and read voraciously, with a passion for mysteries, history, and archaeology. She also enjoyed hiking, music, crafts, vacations to Maine, and volunteering for the Haycock Historical Society.
With a life devoted to others, she was liked and loved by everyone she came in repeated contact with. She was kind, genuine, informative, and compassionate, and her intelligence and insight were deep and broad. She gave practical advice on all ways of living and exhibited an unending passion in raising her two children. Her family and friends, who will never forget her, miss her and remember her unfailing kindness to animals.
Paula is survived by her husband, Rich Laughlin, a retired accountant now pursuing his love of bluegrass guitar playing; and two children, Scott Laughlin, who works at Guggenheim Partners while continuing to play the drums, and Jee-Hye Laughlin, who studies creative writing and journalism in the School of Individualized Study at Rochester Institute of Technology.