William Thomas "Bill" McLaughlin II, a former chairman of the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees and chairman and CEO of Huntington Bank, passed away peacefully at his home in Bonita Springs, Fla., on April 22, following a long and courageous battle with cancer.
McLaughlin was elected to the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees in May 1998, initially serving on the Business and Finance Committee through 2000. In 2000, he was elected Chair of the Board and remained in that capacity through 2003. Because of business commitments, he was unable to remain in the position of chair, but continued his board service on the Investment Sub-Committee through June 2007 at which time he rotated off the board.
During the time McLaughlin served as chair of the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees, he and his wife, Ruth Ann, established two endowed scholarships, the William T. McLaughlin II Scholarship in Business and the Ruth Ann McLaughlin Scholarship for Creative and Performing Arts. Both scholarships were created especially for West Virginia students from Wood, Marion, Lewis and Randolph
A lifelong West Virginian and proud Mountaineer, McLaughlin was born to Lorena Droppleman and William Thomas McLaughlin on June 23, 1937, in Weston.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from West Virginia University, McLaughlin began his career in banking as an examiner for the FDIC. In 1967, he became an auditor for Community Bank & Trust, N.A. (CB&T), Fairmont, where he advanced to chairman, president and CEO. From this position, he began a campaign to change state banking laws to allow branch banking and bank holding companies.
McLaughlin was the first president of the Progressive Bankers Association for banks willing to work for modernizing banking laws. In 1992, he negotiated the sale of CB&T to Huntington Bancshares Inc. for the highest price on a premium per share basis ever paid for a major West Virginia bank. He continued to serve as chairman and CEO of Huntington Banks of West Virginia, which grew to become the state's largest bank. In 2004, he was named to the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame and was appointed the honor of West Virginia University Alumni of the Year in 1996.
Throughout his career, McLaughlin's leadership and vision benefited more than the banking industry. Some of the many state and civic organizations that have enjoyed his valuable help include the Fairmont Industrial Credit Corp., the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Fairmont State University Board of Advisors, the West Virginia Board of Regents, WVU College of Business and Economics Advisory Board, the Finance Committee for Ruby Memorial Hospital, the Clay Center of the Arts and Sciences and the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees.
Following his retirement in 1996, McLaughlin moved to "Bernadette Mountain" outside of Elkins with his wife of 54 years, the former Ruth Ann Walker. In 2000, they began spending winters in Bonita Springs, Fla., where they extended their wide circle of friends. Throughout his life, McLaughlin enjoyed snow skiing, fishing, camping, WVU athletics, bocce ball and, most importantly, spending time with family and friends. From the days of tailgate parties at Mountaineer Field, he enjoyed planning and hosting reunions and get-togethers with Ruth Ann. They graciously welcomed everyone into their home. Throughout his illness, he was charming to the end and continued to make his friends and family smile with his quick wit and great sense of humor.
A funeral service will be held Monday, May 19, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church, Fairmont, followed by a luncheon at the Fairmont Field Club. For more information about the Davis & Elkins College William T. McLaughlin Scholarship in Business, please contact the D&E Development Office at 304-637-1338.