Michael C. McLaughlin, 62, a self-employed lobbyist who served as press secretary to former Pennsylvania Gov. Milton J. Shapp and as chief of staff to former state Senate Democratic leader Edward Zemprelli, died of throat cancer Thursday, June 10, at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Pa.
Mr. McLaughlin, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., was Shapp's spokesman from 1976 to 1979 and Zemprelli's chief of staff from 1979 to 1989, said his brother, Joseph P. McLaughlin Jr., an administrator and instructor at Temple University.
In 1992, Mr. McLaughlin joined S.R. Wojdak & Associates, a Philadelphia lobbying firm, and served as a vice president in its Harrisburg office. Ten years later, he launched Michael C. McLaughlin L.L.C., a lobbying and consulting firm in Mechanicsburg that he operated until his death.
"Mike McLaughlin served elected officials back to the administration of Milton Shapp," Gov. Rendell said. "He was fiercely loyal to the people he served, but he also was fiercely loyal to the truth, and that is the highest praise you can give someone."
Mr. McLaughlin was born in Philadelphia, son of Joseph P. and Jeanette Colegrove McLaughlin. He attended La Salle High School and Germantown Academy. He earned a GED in the Marine Corps, in which he rose to the rank of sergeant. He served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.
After his service, Mr. McLaughlin followed his parents and other relatives in newspaper journalism, reporting part time for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin while attending Temple in the early 1970s. He was a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel-Star in the mid-1970s.
"He was one of the best PR men I've ever known," said Tom Ferrick, a former Inquirer columnist. "That's probably because he had a real good disposition and he was honest and straightforward. He had a lot of integrity."
Last year, Mr. McLaughlin, who was executive vice president of the Harrisburg chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, was named grand marshal of that city's Holiday Parade.
In addition to his brother, Mr. McLaughlin is survived by his wife, Nicole; a son, Ian; daughters Devyn and Grasyn; and a sister.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, at Prince of Peace Church, 815 S. Second St., Steelton, Pa. Viewings will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 15, at the Wiedeman Funeral Home, 357 S. Second St., Steelton, and after 9 a.m. Wednesday at the church. Burial will be in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, Pa.