top of page

Share a Memory:

Upon submitting your memory, please refresh your page to view your condolences.

Your content has been submitted

An error occurred. Try again later


James Walter MacLaughlin


James Walter MacLaughlin, 82, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, passed away on September 16, 2020. Jim, the son of Jane and Walter MacLaughlin, was born and grew up the oldest of four children in suburban Philadelphia. He graduated from Upper Darby High School, where he was a varsity wrestler.

At Penn State University, he studied, found brotherhood at Sigma Nu, and cheered on the Nittany Lions football team. He graduated in 1959 with a B.S. in Math and Science. In State College, PA, he met the love of his life, Lesley Mae Hassis. Lesley and Jim were married on March 1, 1958.

After college, Jim spent time as a teacher before finding his true calling in sales. He excelled as a salesman, landing at Champion International Paper Company, where he spent the rest of his career. Jim helped many young men and women develop in sales, as both their mentor and friend. During his time with Champion, he moved his family from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Upon retirement in 2000, Jim and Lesley moved to Key West, Florida. After five years, they settled in Fernandina Beach.

Jim remained a life-long Penn State and Philadelphia sports fan, a lover of dogs, and an avid Gin Rummy player. As a hunter, fisher and golfer, he enjoyed the ocean, beautiful weather, and wildlife of Fernandina. Jim was a great entertainer � everyone was welcome in his and Lesley�s home for a celebration or a family meal. They were blessed with many wonderful friends and neighbors.

In work and in life, Jim suffered no fools. He held his views strongly and never allowed himself or those he loved to be taken advantage of.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lesley, his children, Martha Harris (husband James), Lauri MacLaughlin, Mark MacLaughlin (wife Elizabeth), Scott MacLaughlin (wife Caitlin), Jay MacLaughlin (wife Amanda), and Jennifer Merrill (husband Brad),14 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Surviving family includes brother Jon MacLaughlin and sisters Jean Frey and Jo Charles. He remained close, throughout his life, with a large extended family in the Philadelphia area.

The family will be hosting a celebration of his life at a future time. Donations can be made in Jim�s honor to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation�s Mission: Iconic Reefs ( OR to Friends of Trees (


MACK AND JANET SISSON September 17, 2020
Dear Leslie and family, we are so very sorry for your loss. Jim was a dear sweet man.

ANITA SOWERS September 24, 2020
Marcy and Family,
So sorry for your loss. So hard to lose a parent. Just remember how much he loved you.

GAY VAN PELT September 25, 2020
Marcy, So very sorry for you and your family. Your parents we always so welcoming and fun. I�ll never forget working on the homecoming float with your Dad�s deer hanging in the garage. Classic.
Much Love, Gay Van Pelt

SHARON DALE September 25, 2020
Marcy, I am so sorry to hear of your Dad�s passing. His life seems so full of family and that is what I remember most! Your house was always welcoming. I too will always remember the homecoming float and the deer that bounced as the garage door went up and hit it just right. Love and hugs to all of you ,
Sharon Robinson Dale

KARL MROZEK September 30, 2020
Jim and I were next door neighbors and friends. We had many things in common. Even though he was a Nittany Lion and I a Buckeye, we would get together for the annual matchup, and sportsmanship would prevail. We also shared a love for birds. Both of us kept Peterson �Life Lists�. One cold winter, we had 13 differemt species of migratory waterfowl visit Maesh Lake and we kept each other informed with our duck of the day reports. I am going to miss that and so much more!

Jim was a sweet friend and neighbor. He had a big heart and a kind spirit. We loved him very much and will miss him daily. You are much loved too, Leslie.

SUSAN AND RAY OBRIEN December 31, 2020
Jim and Lesley were our neighbors and friends for over nine years in Rose Valley Pa. They were fun, kind, and busy raising six beautiful and gifted children. We have remained in touch although moves and career choices made it difficult. We have only good memories of him and are grateful to call both Lesley and Jim friends.

bottom of page