Wilhelmina “Willie” Vink Laughlin, 87, of Polson, passed away at Kingswood Place Senior Living in Surprise, Arizona, on Saturday, June 13, 2020. She peacefully joined her husband George Laughlin 18 years and one day after his passing in 2002.
Willie was born Nov. 23, 1932, in Scobey, Montana, to Cornelis and Johanna Vink. She met the love of her life, George Laughlin, who was her senior prom date. Willie graduated from Scobey High School in 1950, and soon after accepted a job at the Bank of Scobey. In 1951, George left to serve in the Korean War as a staff sergeant in the Army. While deployed, Willie wrote George a letter every day until he returned home in 1953.
On Aug. 15, 1953, Willie and George married in Scobey where they started their new life together. Their daughter Debra was born in 1954 and son Edmond in 1955. After a few years in Scobey, George moved the family first to Helena and then to Deer Lodge for around a year each, finally settling the young family of four in Polson, Montana, in 1959. There they built their family home on Fourth Avenue East in 1961, where they brought home their youngest son George, Jr. in 1962, to complete the family.
Willie was preceded in death by her parents, Cornelis and Johanna Vink, and her husband George of 49 years.
She will be dearly missed by her children, Debbie and her husband John of Surprise, Arizona, Ed and his wife Val of Marysville, Washington, and George and his wife Kelly of Powell.
Her six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who called her “Oma,” will miss her sugar cookie welcome with every visit, and her biscuits ‘n spread for special family gatherings. They are JoLynn (Ryan, Hannah, Ross) Copenhaver of Peoria, Arizona, John (Jennie, John “Jack”, Hayden) Tietema of Seattle, Washingon, Matthew Laughlin of Seattle, Washington, Breeana Laughlin of Missoula, Montana, George Laughlin IV of Lewiston, Idaho, and Jessica Laughlin (Dave) of Powell.
Willie is survived by brother Corrie (Maxine) Vink of Missoula, Montana, sister Annette (Larry) Donohue of Scobey, Montana, and ‘little sister’ Joan (Ken) Hayes of Missoula, Montana, and many loving nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, cousins and very good friends. Willie was a wonderful, compassionate lady. She leaves a huge hole in the hearts of everyone who knew her, especially her extended families created from the marriages of her children and grandchildren.
A private memorial will be held for immediate family members only. The family invites everyone to join them for a celebration of life parade, Saturday, July 11, 2020, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Veteran’s Section of Lakeview Cemetery, in Polson. Deb, Ed and George will be greeting each vehicle with a program while they pass by, keeping everyone at a safe social distance. Please take this time to share your memories of Willie with her children. The family would like to thank everyone for understanding we are not able to gather at this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Help at www.alz.org, Community Church of Polson, or to an organization of the donor’s choice.