William Jennings (Bill) Laughlin, 88, passed away quietly on Sunday, September 30, 2018 in his home in Lenexa, Kansas. He was born June 14, 1930 in Hoisington, Kansas, to George and Bessie Laughlin.
He graduated from Hoisington High School in 1948, received a B.A. in personnel management and psychology, a law degree, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He had a military career which included working with new basic training graduates as a field agent in Human Resources and Career Guidance Counseling.
Bill returned to Hoisington, Kansas, to open his own law practice but was encouraged to run for public office in Great Bend, Kansas. He served for 30 years on the Kansas 20th Judicial District bench; 14 years as a Probate and Juvenile Judge and 16 years as a District Judge.
He met his wife Jeanine (Bunge) on a blind date to the Kansas State Bar Association. They were married in 1967 for a total of 50 years before her death in 2017.
Bill was a member of Gideons International, Christian Legal Society, The American Legion, the Kansas State Bar Association, a founding member of Foundry Methodist Church in Great Bend, and a member of Grace Christian Fellowship Church, Shawnee, Kansas. His faith in Jesus Christ, his family, and friends were most important to him.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Jeanine and his brother Elmer Laughlin. He is survived by daughters Bonnie Deuschle (husband Tom) of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Laura Ehrlich (husband Ben) of Lenexa, sisters Elma Lepej of Ellinwood, Kan., and Elizabeth Wilson of Mokena, Ill., grandchildren Adam Ehrlich of Tulsa, Okla.; Kristen (Ehrlich) Gallaher (husband Benjamin) of Johnston, Iowa.; and Tommy (wife Rachel), Jonathan, Ben, Daniel, and Sarah Deuschle of Harare, Zimbabwe, four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at Journey Church, 8865 Bourgade, Lenexa, Kansas. Memorial contributions in Bill’s name are requested to be sent to Gideon’s International. Bill will be inurned at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Topeka, Kan., beside his wife.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Oct. 7, 2018