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Lions Laude David McLaughlin

Local businessman David McLaughlin of Dodds & Eder, Inc., was honored by his fellow Lions at their 9th Spring Fling held at the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in April. His family and friends came out to support him at the benefit for Guide Dogs for the Blind and America’s VetDogs and other worthy causes. The benefit was the work of the Lions members, including: chairperson Ginnie Williams, co-chairs Doug DiRossi, Jerry Lalonde and Cindy Mudford; auction chairman Jerry Lalonde; journal chairman Robert Schadler; and committee members Pam Beliveau, Kayel DeAngelis, Robert Gottlieb, Ann-Marie Hosey, David McLaughlin, George Mudford, Chris Plummer and Bruce Schadler, Jr.

Jerry Lalonde thanked former SCYC Commodore Ian McCurdy for arranging for the Lions to use their gracious clubhouse for the event. Lalonde announced the winner of the door prize, a giant basket of goodies; and the 50/50 winner of $480, which the winner donated back to the club. Lalonde credited Honoree David McLaughlin for their having to add four more pages to their event journal, because of more ads congratulating him. Lalonde also thanked SCYC manager Caroline for her work in getting the club ready for them saying, “Yesterday was opening day at the yacht club and there were several hundred people here.” She still got everything ready to welcome the Lions, he said.

McLaughlin said he joined the club 27 years ago when he met Lion Herman Bernstein, who owned a department store on South Street and McLaughlin asked him, “What’s a Lion?” The answer was that it was a world-wide community organization inspired by Helen Keller, a champion for the blind. It is a way to do good for people while having fun. He called the Oyster Bay Lions, “an interesting cast of characters,” and said, “We have fun here and globally help the blind and visually impaired.” Part of the afternoon’s work was to raise money to help support the Guide Dog Foundation. They also work at the Oyster Festival to fund their charity outreaches.

McLaughlin has been a member since 1986 and served two terms as president. Born in Syosset, the family moved to Oyster Bay in 1969 where he graduated from Oyster Bay High School. He attended the University of Rhode Island and received a B.S. degree in resource development. His career in horticulture began at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park where he became the head of the greenhouses, while earning an MBA from LIU Post and teaching as an adjunct professor at SUNY Farmingdale. He married Genellen McGrath in 1977, and they lived for several years in the Historic Walt Whitman House in Huntington. They moved to Kansas City, MO, when McLaughlin was offered the position of Supervisor of Floriculture for the city. The couple have two children, David and Helen.

In 1984, McLaughlin’s brother Joe made him an offer to come back to Oyster Bay and head up the landscape division of Dodds & Eder. He became a full partner in 1994. Over the last 30 years, his landscaping operation has become the award-winning, full-service landscape design and installation firm it is today.

McLaughlin’s service to the community includes being president of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Boys & Girls Club; vice president of the WaterFront Center; and president of the North Shore Horticultural Society.

Lorraine Quinn, one of McLaughlin’s family members, said, “He is such a special guy he deserves this honor. He’s humble, he doesn’t think he should be here. The whole family loves him.”

McLaughlin’s wife, Genellen McGrath McLaughlin, said, “We’re so proud of the turnout and we want to thank the community for supporting us.” She recently retired from her position as the first director of the Gold Coast Library where she currently has been working as a consultant on a project for them. Their children were not able to attend the reception.