John McLaughlin has rediscovered the love of his life – 45 years after first meeting her in New York – and is leaving Baltimore to carry on in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Together, he and Judy McCracken are preparing to start a new life together there. It’s a journey that will take John and Judy away from the hustle and bustle of Baltimore, and Judy away from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa version of the same.
John McLaughlin has been a mover and shaker in the Baltimore advertising community since 1981, when he left Keenan & McLaughlin (no relation) in New York. He was the business development leader at several advertising agencies in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, including Richardson, Myers & Donofrio, and Earle Palmer Brown. He joined into an agency partnership with Don Schnably and Bill Evans at Schnably, Evans, Mclaughlin a few years later.
In the years since his agency days in Baltimore, John has served as an informal adviser to a variety of boards and to many of the better-known figures in the Baltimore business community. He also made a reputation for himself as a reliable source for newspaper reporters and columnists, and as a wise and welcome counselor for those trying to get into the business, or make the most of the advertising business they had.
While John’s love affair with Ms. McCracken is taking him away from his other love – Baltimore – he has nothing but kind things to say about the city.
“I’ve made some very special friends, here,” McLaughlin says. “It’s always been ‘Charm City’ to me since I arrived. The location – just an hour north of the political capital of the world and a few hours south of the financial capital of the world – has always seemed ideal to me. With natural beauty always just around the corner, the wealth of history and the fascinating people – especially the people – Baltimore’s a terrific place. I’ll miss it.”
John’s decision to leave Baltimore didn’t come easily. But the story of how he arrived at it is magical.
It all began 43 years when John and Judy discovered that they were the perfect match. Soul mates. Destined to be together.
Personal circumstances intervened though, and while John created a new life for himself in Baltimore, Judy married and moved to Cedar Rapids.
Fast forward 43 years.
John was happy to play the role of doting grandfather to his sons’ children, but he had long been dissatisfied with the bachelor life he was leading in Baltimore. On a whim, he Googled his former sweetheart and placed a call to Cedar Rapids. After a few nervous minutes of re-introducing themselves to each other, Judy informed John that her husband had passed away just three weeks prior to John’s phone call.
Now, a couple of years later, John and Judy are starting all over again – together – in Hilton Head.
Heartwarming, magical story, right? And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. So good luck to both of you, you crazy kids.
Funny thing is, it’s not a story with a happy ending. It’s a story about a beautiful new beginning.
We’ll miss you, John.