Laughon, James 01/06/1932 ~ 05/10/2015 EL CAJON — James Howard Laughon, 83, of El Cajon, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 10, 2015. Howard was born in San Diego on January 6, 1932. He graduated from Hoover High in 1949 and San Diego State in 1960. He joined the US Naval Air Reserve in 1950, taking a hiatus from college to attend flight school at NAS Pensacola. He received his wings as a cadet in 1953. Howard served on several aircraft carriers, including the USS Yorktown (CV-10), and flew a variety of aircraft, including Douglas AD Skyraiders, VC-35 squadron. He retired from the Navy in 1975 as a captain. While serving in the Reserves, Howard also worked for the City of El Cajon as a civil engineer. Then, in 1966, he began a new career as a pilot with American Airlines. Over the next 25 years, he rose to the rank of full captain and retired in 1992 at age 60. Howard enjoyed traveling and camping, especially in Yosemite and Death Valley, where he often told elaborate and improvised campfire stories. He loved playing games and patiently taught his grandchildren his favorite: Mahjongg. Howard had a warm, friendly personality and had a penchant for giving everyone around him nicknames. Howard regularly participated in VC-35 reunions and was a member of the Model T Ford Club of San Diego. He attended Shadow Mountain Community Church for more than forty years. Howard is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marlene; his four children, David (Leslie) of La Mesa; Janna of El Cajon, Greg (Sheri) of Powell, TN; and Carolee (Dan Jones) of Deeth, NV; his eight grandchildren, Geoffrey, David, Katelyn and Rebecca Laughon, all of TN; Chelsea (Steve Burrows), and Aaron, Kevin and Nathan Jones, all of NV; his brother, Allen “Pete”* Laughon of La Mesa; his sister, Patricia Plemon of Lemon Grove; and his brother-in-law, Chuck West of San Diego; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Emma Laughon; his sister, June West; and his sister-in-law, Jacquelyn Laughon. A Celebration of Life will be held in July. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on May 17, 2015.