Cover photo for Helen E. Mclaughlin's Obituary
Helen E. Mclaughlin Profile Photo
1920 Helen 2017

Helen E. Mclaughlin

June 27, 1920 — February 23, 2017

A hospitality gathering for Betty McLaughlin, 96, of Coal Valley, Illinois, will be held from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Friday, March 17, 2017, in the Horizon Room at Trimble Funeral Home at Trimble Pointe, 701 12th Street, Moline, Illinois. Private burial will be at Rock Island National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Red Cross or the Rock Island County Animal Care & Control.

Betty was born June 27, 1920, in Denver, Colorado. She died peacefully in her home on February 23, 2017. She graduated from East Denver High School with the class of 1938 and earned a bachelors degree in sociology and credentials to teach elementary education from Colorado College in 1942.

Betty became an air hostess for Continental Air Lines in 1943 and in 1946 became a stewardess for United Air Lines. She married United pilot Burl W. (Mac) McLaughlin on July 9, 1947.

From 1947 to 1971, Betty and Mac lived a life of service in the United States Air Force. She was a leader in Officers Wives Club, Girl and Boy Scouts, and American Red Cross. She developed a CHAMPUS program for dependents with disabilities. She also helped Mac achieve the rank of Major General.

In 1971, Betty and Mac returned to the airline industry, first with Eastern Airlines and then with Mississippi Valley Airlines, which brought them to the Quad Cities in 1981. They traveled extensively, and she was actively involved in AAUW, PEO (BL Chapter), RIA Wives Club, and Beulah Presbyterian Church.

For 21 years, Betty was a substitute teacher (K-12) with certification in 8 states and updated her qualifications with additional coursework at Tampa University. She also taught Sunday School for several Methodist and Presbyterian churches throughout the years.

As a noted aviation historian, Betty wrote two books: Walking on Air (1986) and Footsteps in the Sky: An Informal Review of U.S. Airlines' Inflight Service (1994). She was also an active member in Golden Penguins and Clipped Wings. She received many accolades for her exceptional contributions to aviation, including an inscribed stone at The International Forest of Friendship.

Betty's greatest accomplishments were being a devoted wife to her husband of 60 years and a loving mother and grandmother.

Betty is survived by her daughters Becky Beryl Hobart (David), of Marstons Mills, Mass.; Kathleen Jean McLaughlin, of Coal Valley, Ill; Patricia Nanette McLaughlin, PhD (Trish Hepner), of Moline, Ill; and son William Bailey McLaughlin (Bill Short) of Washington, DC; grandson Brent Eberhart (Abigail Swanson); great-grandson Zachary Eberhart and granddaughter Ashlynn Rose Eberhart; and great-great-granddaughter Zoey Eberhart.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. E. E. Bailey, DDS and Grace (Reddock) Bailey, and brother, Robert Glenn Bailey.

Betty's family invites friends to express condolences or light a candle in her memory at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen E. Mclaughlin, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Hospitality Gathering

Friday, March 17, 2017

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory at Trimble Pointe, Moline, Illinois

701 12th Street, Moline, IL 61265

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