Michael Laughlin ’61

Dr. K. Michael Laughlin, who served the Rock Hill community as an ophthalmologist for more than 30 years, died Sunday, January 19, 2020 at Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House after a three-plus year-long battle with a chronic lung illness.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 3 pm at Greene Funeral Home Northwest Chapel, 2133 Ebenezer Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732 with the Reverend Scott Mosley officiating. Burial will be private. A visitation will be held prior to the service from 1:30-2:45 pm at the funeral home.

Born May 15, 1939, he attended the Wilmington Friends School in Wilmington, DE, and was a 1957 graduate of the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ. He graduated from Davidson College in 1961, where he excelled in soccer as center forward and was chosen for the All-South Team. He attended Tulane University Medical School from 1961-1965. After a one-year rotating internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, Dr. Laughlin returned to Tulane University Medical School and completed his three-year residency in ophthalmology from 1966 through the spring of 1969.

In June, 1969, Dr. Laughlin entered the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander and was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam until he moved to Rock Hill in 1971, where he continued to practice ophthalmology until his retirement in August 2001.

Dr. Laughlin was a member of the American Medical Society, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the South Carolina Society of Addiction Medicine. In addition, he served on committees for the Physician Advocacy and Assistance Program and the Recovering Professionals Program. He also served the Keystone Substance Abuse Center in Rock Hill as an examiner and board member, and on the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention.

Dr. Laughlin is most noted for his work in founding and leading FAVOR South Carolina. FAVOR (Faces and Voices of Recovery) is a national organization dedicated to helping individuals recovering from substance abuse and working to remove the stigma of addiction.

As a result of his efforts, Dr. Laughlin was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in June, 2012, by Governor Nikki Haley. The Order of the Palmetto, given for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance, is the highest civilian honor awarded to citizens of South Carolina. The Order of the Palmetto is a once in a lifetime achievement.

In addition to being an avid golfer, tennis player, and photographer, Dr. Laughlin was also a surf fishing and fly fishing enthusiast who served as a board member of the David Island Fishing Foundation and as publisher of its newsletter. He was also a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and its local chapter the York County Flyers Club.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Muller Laughlin; his son, Scott Laughlin (Amy); daughter, Shelley Crocker (Clint); grandson, Daniel Crocker and granddaughter, Samantha Crocker; his sister, Jo Alice Kelly and a niece, Ashley Vitale.

In lieu of flowers, the Laughlin family requests donations to Hospice & Community Care, PO Box 993, Rock Hill, SC 29731.

Condolences may be made to Dr. Laughlin’s family at www.greenefuneralhome.net.

Published in The Herald on Jan. 23, 2020