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50 North Pinch Road
Elkview, WV 25071
Phone: (304) 965-3331
Fax: 304-965-5238
Brig. General James McLaughlin

Brig. General James Kemp McLaughlin

Saturday, December 7th, 1918 - Monday, December 16th, 2019
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Brig. General James Kemp McLaughlin, Sr., 101, of Charleston passed away on Monday, December 16, 2019.

He was born on December 7, 1918 in Braxton County, West Virginia to Almira Ballengee McLaughlin and former Commissioner of Agriculture, James Blaine McLaughlin.

A graduate of Charleston High School and West Virginia University, Kemp joined the Army Air Corp, and arrived in England with the 92nd Bomb Group in 1942. From there he led over 39 B-17 combat missions throughout WWII, including the invasion of North Africa and the raid over Schweinfurt Germany. General McLaughlin authored The Mighty Eighth in World War II in which he described his time during the war and the missions in which he flew.

In 1947 he founded the West Virginia Air National Guard, where he served as commander and retired in 1977.
Kemp served as Kanawha County Commissioner from 1962-1968, was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1974-1976, President of the Charleston Exchange Club, Chairman of the Kanawha Clay Chapter of the American Red Cross, a board member of the Salvation Army, and served roles in many other organizations throughout the Kanawha Valley. He founded Elk Hills Memorial Park, and was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Charleston.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Constance Bailey McLaughlin, his parents, and sisters, Mary Virginia McLaughlin and Elinor McLaughlin.

He is survived by his children, James Kemp McLaughlin, Jr. and Mary Blaine McLaughlin of Charleston, Laura Evans McLaughlin of The Villages, Florida; grandchildren, James Blaine McLaughlin II of Louisville, Kentucky, and Elizabeth McLaughlin Smith of Charleston; great-grandchildren, Preston Andrew Smith and Bailey Elizabeth Smith of Charleston.

Funeral services will be held 10 am on Monday, December 23, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, with Reverend Dr. Nancy Kahaian. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will follow at Elk Hills Memorial Park, Big Chimney with military honors conducted 130th McLaughlin Air National Guard Honor Guard Team.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made to the University of Charleston Constance B. McLaughlin Scholarship Fund, or Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. West Charleston, WV 25387.

Online condolences may be sent to

Arrangements are in the care of Hafer Funeral Home, 50 North Pinch Road, Elkview.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Monday, December 23rd, 2019 | 9:00am - 10:00am
    Monday, December 23rd, 2019 9:00am - 10:00am
    First Presbyterian Church of Charleston
    16 Leon Sullivan Way
    CHARLESTON, WV 25301
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, December 23rd, 2019 | 10:00am
    Monday, December 23rd, 2019 10:00am
    First Presbyterian Church of Charleston
    16 Leon Sullivan Way
    CHARLESTON, WV 25301
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Reverend Dr. Nancy Kahaian
  • Interment

    Elk Hills Memorial Park
    4705 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Big Chimney , WV
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Kimberly Ptoffitt

Posted at 10:49am
I want to send my deepest sympathies to the entire family. The General was a wonderful man that I got to know when I took care of him. A True Hero he was. I will miss him terribly.

Sue Fox Moyer

Posted at 09:46pm
On behalf of the Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association please accept our condolences. Your father was an inspiration to us. The highest example of leadership by example will be remembered.

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