Friday, June 21, 2024

John Winbon Laughter, 88

WILMINGTON — John Winbon Laughter, 88, of Wilmington, NC, passed away peacefully on April 8th, 3 days before his 89th birthday. We know he and his beloved wife of 60 years, Lela Ann, will be celebrating in heaven now that they are reunited.

Born in Franklin County, NC to the late George and Annie Bertha Winbon Laughter, he grew up in Franklinton before joining the US Coast Guard in 1953. He served four years of active duty followed by 4 years in the reserve and received an honorable discharge in 1961.

John and Lela Ann married in May of 1958 and began their life together in Norfolk, VA. It was here that he began his professional career with W. R. Grace & Co. In 1969, he was promoted and transferred to the Wilmington plant.

John called Wilmington home as this is where he devoted countless hours to Babe Ruth baseball and the Winter Park Optimist Club. During the Spring and Summer, you’d find him working and stocking the concession stand, coaching little leaguers, and holding numerous leadership positions within the Optimist Club. Every Thanksgiving weekend into the early weeks of December, he’d be behind the desk at the Christmas tree lot at Hugh McRae Park. Over the years, he coordinated the ordering, delivery, and sale of thousands of North Carolina Mountain Christmas trees.

Though he spent a considerable amount of hours volunteering, John also found time to follow the UNC Tarheels and the Boston Red Sox. Each Fall, he’d make the weekend drive to Chapel Hill to cheer on the Heels. And once retired, he and Lela Ann would spend February through early April in Fort Myers for Spring Training.

John is survived by his two children: Elizabeth Laughter Rea (Dan) and John Gregory Laughter (Stephanie); his three grandchildren: Jessica Rea McCullen (Christian), Haley Rea, and Dylan Laughter; his sister: Frances Laughter Peed (Wallace); and many nieces and nephews. He was also excited to welcome his first great granddaughter in July.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 14 at 2 p.m. at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Wilmington. The family will greet friends at 1 p.m. in the Wesley UMC Welcome Center.

A special thanks to John’s neighbors and dear friends, Bobby and Karen Pogue, who checked on him daily, provided food, and helped him with home repairs and yard maintenance. Additionally, our family is appreciative of the care provided by the staff at Morningside Assisted Living and the Lower Cape Fear Life Care Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, PO Box 127, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450 or the Lower Cape Fear Life Care Foundation, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.

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