Cover photo for Richard Allen Laughlin's Obituary
1938 Richard 2023

Richard Allen Laughlin

October 18, 1938 — July 22, 2023

Highlands Ranch


It is with great sadness that the family of Richard A. Laughlin announce this death. After a diagnosis of Stage IV pancreatic cancer on June 30, 2023, Richard passed peacefully 23 days later while he was in home hospice care in Highlands Ranch, CO, on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at 1:39 p.m., with his loving wife, Patricia (Jordan) Laughlin, by his side, holding his hand. He was born on Tuesday, October 18, 1938, to Luther and Ethel Laughlin in Bakersfield, California. Within his immediate family, Richard is survived by his wife, Patricia Laughlin, his two sons, Kevin and Scott Laughlin, his stepson (whom he considered as his son), Troy Wilson and his wife, Tina, and his grandson, Kylen Wilson (whom he also considered as his son). Extended family members that survive Richard, are nephew, Michael Laughlin and his wife Michele, nephew in-law, Randy Roesener (wife Cindy, deceased) great niece, Mallori (Laughlin) Beeghly and her spouse, Chad, great niece, Amanda (Roesener) Coffey and her spouse, Justin, great niece, Brandi Roesener and her partner, David Contreras, great nephew Matthew Laughlin, seven great, great nephews, Michael, Adam, Ethan and Cameron Beeghly, Blain Coffey, DeMarcus and Dante Contreras, and two great, great nieces, Coraline Contreras, and Landry Coffey. Richard was predeceased in death by his parents and his only sibling, George Laughlin, and his stepson (whom he considered as his son), Todd Wilson, and his niece, Cynthia (Laughlin) Roesener.


Richard spent his younger years growing up in Bakersfield, CA, alongside his brother, George Laughlin, until Richard was in the seventh grade. Their father, Luther, worked for an oil company that transferred Luther and the family to Gillette, WY, where Richard and his brother attended junior high school/middle school. Once again, Richard’s life became uprooted when his father’s employer transferred the family to Craig, CO, where George and Richard attended and graduated from Moffatt County High School . Richard’s portrait still hangs in the Hall of Fame at Moffatt County High School in Craig for his outstanding educational and career achievements.


After he graduated from high school, at the age of 17 yrs., Richard enlisted in the U.S. Navy, on July 6, 1956, until August 20, 1959. He stayed on active duty in the Naval Reserve until October 17, 1961. Richard, honorably discharged from the Navy, enrolled at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO. He transferred the credits earned from Ft. Lewis College to the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. Richard earned three degrees from the University of Colorado: 1) an undergraduate degree, 2) a master’s degree and 3) a doctorate degree.

Once he graduated from the University of Colorado, Richard accepted a position as the Dean of Students at Aims Community College in Greeley, CO, where he later served as the second president of that institution. His portrait currently hangs in a hallway of Ed Beaty Hall at Aims Community College. During his extensive career in education, Richard served as the President of the Consortium of State Colleges. The four state colleges at the time were Metropolitan State College, in Denver Colorado, Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO, and Western State College in Gunnison, CO. He was also the Deputy Director of K — 12 schools in the State of Colorado, the Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Colorado, and an associate professor for a doctoral program at the University of Denver. Richard experienced a very fulfilling career in education and was proud of the fact that he influenced the incorporation of a multitude of positive educational programs. He retired from his broad career in education being highly respected, highly regarded and viewed as a man of integrity. After Richard retired from his career in education, he spent three years as a tax consultant for H&R Block.


In 1980, Richard married the love of his life, Patricia (Pat) (Jordan) Laughlin. They were happily married until the day he passed away with her standing at his side holding his hand. Richard shared a variety of interests with his wife and two stepsons/sons, Troy & Todd Wilson. When Troy and Todd were young, they enjoyed bike riding, camping, fishing, skiing, swimming, and traveling as a family. As proud parents they were attentive in attending all the boys’ sports activities at which the boys were very adept. Together, Richard and Pat thoroughly enjoyed training for and riding their road bikes in the Ride the Rockies and in the MS 150 multi-day bicycle tours, they loved the adventure and exhilaration of white-water river rafting with friends, and they also enjoyed working out/exercising together.


When their grandson, Kylen was born, both Richard and Pat were over the moon ! They took care of Kylen like he was their own son until he graduated from high school while his parents worked. Over the years, they thoroughly enjoyed taking care of Kylen and watching him grow into a wonderful young man. As proud and supportive grandparents, they encouraged Kylen to play chess (he became quite proficient), to try archery (Kylen had an invite to try out for the Junior Olympics in archery), and to also encourage his endeavors in swimming at which he is still quite skilled. Richard also beamed with pride and joy that his grandson, Kylen is thriving as a college student and has achieved the Dean’s Academic List and recognition from a national honor society while he is working at a part-time job. He felt that there was a very bright and successful future ahead for Kylen. Before his journey here on earth ended, Richard was extremely happy and proud to know that Troy and his wife Tina had been successful and proficient in their jobs, in attaining a beautiful home, experiencing happiness together, are very loved and respected by family and friends, and that they are achieving a loving life as a team. He envisioned wonderful things that are still yet to unfold for them as they reach new goals.


Richard was known for his warm-hearted kindness, his sweet, thoughtful nature, and living his life with integrity. He deeply loved his family, extended family, and his country. He is remembered as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend who had a profound effect on those around him. Richard’s presence in the lives of those who love and admire him miss him deeply! Loved Beyond Words, Missed Beyond Measure!


Richard’s Celebration of Life Service will take place on Saturday, October 14th at 1:00 p.m. at the Horan & McConaty “Heartlight Center” located at 11150 East Dartmouth Avenue (intersection of Parker Road and Dartmouth), Aurora, CO, 80014. The family plans to serve liquid refreshments and snacks/food afterward in the same room as the service. The Laughlin/Wilson family would appreciate having the head count of those family and friends who will be attending the service so the proper number of refreshments, snacks and food for lunch can be available.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society, and to the non-profit Macular Degeneration Association. Donations to both organizations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


Please share your memories of Richard and condolences with his family by signing the tribute wall.




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