Katherine McLaughlin

Obituary of Katherine Dudley McLaughlin

Katherine (Kay) Dudley Souza McLaughlin, age 91, of Mesa AZ, died peacefully on April 29, 2022, after a long life overflowing with love and gratitude for family and friends.  


Kay was born December 4, 1930, in Urbana IL to William Bettencourt Souza and Katherine Morris Onderdonk Souza.  Her mother died when Kay was 9.  Kay lived with her sisters at Sacred Hearts Academy boarding school in Fairhaven MA fifth through eighth grade.   Kay graduated from Mascoutah High School in Mascoutah near Scott AFB, IL, and Brown Business College in St Louis MO. She remained close to her older sister Caroline Souza her entire life.


Kay converted to Roman Catholicism and married John E. McLaughlin on March 31, 1951, in Salem IL.  Kay supported John’s 26-year US Air Force career, efficiently packing up household and kids.  They moved 12 times between Japan, air bases across the US, Okinawa, and ultimately Mesa AZ where they retired.  She was the consummate military wife, cheerfully self-sufficient for many 9-month deployments with limited contact, often including during the births of sons.  When John deployed TDY, Kay wrote him a letter every day.  John and Kay shared 71 adventurous, happy years of marriage.


She stayed home during her children’s school years, volunteering at their schools and serving as Cub Scout den mother, helping with homework, cooking and cleaning up a storm.  Kay returned to work in 1975 at Christ the King Catholic Church as parish secretary and retired 20 years later.  She volunteered at Mission of Mercy mobile medical clinic every Thursday for 16 years for medical director Dr. Brad Smith.  She enjoyed music, singing in the choir, and playing the organ.  She loved gardening, quilting, sewing, crafts, and spending time with her dear friends from St. Raphael’s Guild, Christ Renews His Parish, bunco and the perennial Christmas Stockings project.


Kay was preceded in death by her parents, infant son February 5, 1965, and sisters Mary Elizabeth Souza Pabarcus (Jack) and Evelyn Marie Souza Kish. 


Kay is survived by her husband John, daughter Carol (James) Armes of Gold Canyon, AZ, sons John A. (Amy) McLaughlin of Chandler AZ, Michael (Karen) McLaughlin of Goodyear AZ, David McLaughlin of Seguin TX, Frank (Kristen) McLaughlin of Gilbert AZ, Philip (Kara) McLaughlin and Paul (Kristi) McLaughlin, both of Mesa AZ; granddaughters Amanda, Kelsey, Kelly and Ashley McLaughlin, Brooke Overstreet and grandsons Matthew (Katie), Mark (Mackenzie), Alexander, Philip (Casey) and Cody McLaughlin; great-grandchildren Tyson, Taylor and Emily McLaughlin, Knox and Summer Overstreet.  Kay is also survived by her sister Caroline B Souza, of O’Fallon IL.

A celebration of Kay’s life with Mass will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1551 E Dana Ave, Mesa AZ 85204 on May 17, 2022, at 10 am.  In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial donations be made to St. Peregrine Cancer Shrine, 1551 E Dana Ave, Mesa AZ 85204 - (480) 964-1719.


Kay’s ashes will be laid to rest at Green Acres Cemetery, 401 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale AZ, in a private family ceremony at a future time.

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