My brother, Dennis McLaughlin. was one of the most prominent psychologists in Hawaii. He excelled in the study of Physics and Mathematics, as well as Psychology, and his work was published nationally and internationally.
Together with his wife, Tina, he founded Care Hawaii, the largest mental health firm in the State, with over 400 employees. Through this firm, they helped many thousands of Hawaii residents in need.
Because of the burdens of building such a company, he didn’t travel often. On a rare trip to California to visit me, he realized that I traveled extensively and, in particular, had been to Ireland many times. Our parents also had traveled to the land of our ancestors as well as all four of my children, but not Dennis.
Finally, he asked me to go to Ireland with him and be his guide. I was thrilled with the opportunity to show him that beautiful land, full of such friendly people. He got to visit all my favorite places and meet many people who had become my friends. Our sister, Joan, joined us from Colorado and off we went, driving on the wrong side of the road in a car with roll up windows and a manual transmission. Every time I used the turn indicators, the windshield wipers went on and I was always getting in on the wrong side of the car. It was a hoot.
Probably, the most notable events during the trip were the opportunity to stand in the now derelict church in County Sligo where our grandfather had been baptized and the time he got to help a young man. In the first case, on a bright and sunny day, he walked where those who came before us walked. Dennis just beamed. He was so happy.
In the second event, we were visiting in the home of friends, who had three brilliant children and one young man who struggled with conversation, academics and advancement.
After we left, the young man asked his father if Dennis was some sort of counselor. When told of Dennis’ profession, he asked if he could speak with him privately. It was arranged for the next evening.
Afterwards, the family learned from Dennis that their son was not less intelligent than the others, but, rather, suffered from a treatable hearing problem. He could not hear in class nor understand his siblings’ jokes. He was ashamed.
With some medical treatment and an understanding that his parents really cared for him, the young Irish lad regained his self esteem, returned to college, completed his degree, including winning a scholarship to Montana State University, and became a successful entrepreneur.
With a little understanding and talent, Dennis was able to change a life forever. It was an amazing demonstration of his skill. I am certain that he used that skill over and over again in Hawaii.
Together we spent about three weeks in Ireland. In later years, he spent more time in other parts of Europe, but I was most pleased to give my brother the gift of showing him such a wonderful place. It was the least I could do for the kindest and most gentle man I have ever met.
Dr. Dennis McLaughlin, age 70 years, passed away in Kaneohe on March 3, 2010. Rest in Peace Dennis. I love you.
‘William McLaughlin can be reached at mailto:SOLIDTEAM@aol.com’
‘Author’s note: It should be added that Dennis McLaughlin was the Father of Malia Zimmerman, the Publisher of Hawaii Reporter.’