Cover photo for Mary Lourdes McLaughlin's Obituary
Mary Lourdes McLaughlin Profile Photo
1935 Mary McLaughlin 2024

Mary Lourdes McLaughlin

March 7, 1935 — July 9, 2024

Rockford

Mary Lourdes (Jackson) McLaughlin was born March 7, 1935 in Utica, New York to William Francis and Mary Catherine (Horgan) Jackson. Mary Lou was predeceased by her parents, sibling, Sister Karen Anne Jackson C.S.C., husband, Robert B. McLaughlin, beloved in-laws Harry Schloetter, Ruth Anne Melvin (McLaughlin), Marshall Melvin and James McLaughlin. She is survived by her five children and twelve grandchildren: daughter Mary Anne and husband Ray Pifer with sons Mark and Mike, son Robert and wife Jackie with children Amy Lynn, Thomas, Sean and Sarah, daughter Kathy and husband Jeff Champion, son William “Bill” and partner Elisa with daughters Emma, Madaline, and Grace, son Mike and daughter-in-law Dana and children Julianna, Grey, and Stuart. Also surviving her is her beloved sister-in-law Joan Schloetter of Petaluma California, and cousin in-law Kathleen Conmey (“fellow outlaw”-Larry) of Mt. Vernon Iowa, as well as, numerous nieces, nephews, God children, and special friends.

Mary Lou grew up in Detroit, Michigan attending St. Mary's of Redford Catholic Parish for elementary and high school. She went on to the University of Detroit where she graduated with honors and a degree in philosophy while majoring in education. She began her teaching vocation at Detroit Public Schools spending five years teaching at Gompers Elementary School. She left that position to care for her terminally ill mother and to begin her own family. 

It was at the University of Detroit where she met her husband of almost 63 years, Robert B. McLaughlin. They married on August 19, 1961 in Detroit, MI. They moved to Rockford, IL in 1971 when Bob accepted a job transfer and she temporarily shifted her vocation to being a full-time mother. They became involved with the community and developed lifelong friends through Newcomers. As a devoted stay-at-home mom, she was a constant presence at Holy Family church and school, as well as her children’s many sporting and social events. A practice she continued after becoming a doting grandmother to twelve grandchildren whenever possible.

She re-entered her teaching vocation through substitute teaching in the Catholic Schools in Rockford where she had a reputation for being fair but strict, earning her the nickname “Sarge” from many students. She then accepted a full-time position teaching second graders at St. James Catholic School in downtown Rockford. For 18 years she dedicated herself to teaching and nurturing second graders academically, emotionally, and spiritually. First Holy Communion was always an important event for her and her students. Following her retirement from the classroom, she continued as a volunteer reading tutor at St. James. Seeing former students and following their careers was a constant source of pride and joy. 

Outside of her teaching and family-based vocations, Mary Lou participated in a variety of activities. She was a constant supporter of her husband’s numerous charitable endeavors in the Rockford area and International communities. She was outwardly proud of her Irish heritage and had various artistic outlets. She enjoyed her time with the “Dirty Dozen” ladies, the Holy Family women’s guild, and years of bowling. She was well known for knitting sweaters for newborn grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She had a talent for creating home-made coloring sheets with princesses wearing formal gowns and tiaras. 

Her family would like to thank all those who assisted and cared for her at home, especially Mary Nalewanski for companionship. Thank you to OSF Hospice for their professional, compassionate, and loving care. A special thank you to her caregivers Tea, Alma, Jurgita, and Larysa for allowing her to be at home until her passing. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Services for Robert and Mary McLaughlin will be held jointly to honor their lives together. Visitation will be from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 12, 2024, with a Rosary at 6:45 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church. Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. with visitation from 10:00 a.m. until time of Mass on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107. Burial will conclude in Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Winnebago, IL. 

Share memories and condolences at www.fitzgeraldfh.com 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, July 12, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Friday, July 12, 2024

6:45 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Saturday, July 13, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Saturday, July 13, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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