Lillian P. Laughlin
July 11, 1941-Jan. 31, 2018
Benjamin G. Laughlin
Oct. 22, 1938-Jan. 31, 2018
Lillian Porter Laughlin, 76, and Benjamin Guy Laughlin, 79, along with their sweet dog Zuma, died together in a house fire on Jan. 31, 2018 in Galveston, Texas. A memorial celebration and potluck hosted by the Homer Emblem Club and the American Legion/VFW will be held from noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Homer Elks Club. Please come to share your stories and love with friends and family.
Lily met Ben Laughlin at church, and they found a true love and a happy marriage of just shy of 30 years at the time of their passing. Together they had operated a B & B, a charter boat and other endeavors. In recent years they enjoyed beautiful summers in Homer and warm winters in Galveston.
Lillian Porter was born July 11, 1941, on a ranch between San Rafael and Rama in the El Malpais, New Mexico. The 10th of 11 children of the late William and Bibana Porter, she attended Grants High School, and married her high school sweetheart Jerry Perkins. Together they had two children, Sam and Billie Rae, before divorcing. While attending beauty college in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lilly met Tommy Swatzell and the intrepid young couple traveled to Alaska in 1969, settling in Homer, then a tiny hamlet of 1,000 people. Tommy and Lily had one daughter, Tomi Leigh. To support her young family, Lily opened Blue Garter Beauty Salon, a successful business she operated until 2004. After Tommy left for the Lower ’48 in 1977, Lily persevered as a single mother of three. During this time, she invented and patented the “Lilypad,” a neck cushion engineered specifically for salons. Lily always had room at her table and a welcoming heart for her children’s friends, and created fond memories with meals of homemade sopapillas and fiery chilis learned in her native New Mexico. A deserved and lasting love and happiness came with her marriage to Ben.
Lillian is survived by two of her 10 siblings, Joann Thomas and Vivian Ivey, her children, Samuel Charles Swatzell (Donnely), Billie Rae Gillas (Joe), and Tomi Leigh McDaniel; grandchildren, Breanna Danielle Swatzell, Kimber Leigh Johnson, Kaylena Skindelien (Nick), John Lafollette, James Gillas and Hunter Carswell, and great grandson, Lincoln “the Lunk” Skindelien.
Benjamin Guy Laughlin was born Oct. 22, 1938 in Ramona, Oklahoma. After high school, he served honorably in the U.S. Army for more than six years. He married Maryland Turner in 1968. They lived for a time in Florida, and had three daughters, Morina, Lavonda, and Regina. Ben was a good man with his hands, and moved his family to Fairbanks, where he worked as a diesel mechanic. He learned to play the guitar by ear, and was an accomplished left-handed country and western guitar picker. Divorced in 1974, he subsequently was married for a time to Juanita Fuller after they moved to Homer.
Ben is preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Lillian Laughlin; brother, James; sister, Helen, and his daughter Lavonda.
Ben is survived by his daughters Morina Laughlin, Regina Elkins (Jack) and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.