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James “Jim” Franklin Laughter, Jr.

James “Jim” Franklin Laughter, Jr.

James “Jim” Franklin Laughter, Jr., better known as “Coach” or “Pop” Laughter, 82, died Wednesday, February 12, 2020 following a brief illness at the Elizabeth House. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Elva Laughter, as well as his wife, Shirley who died in 2015.

He was a Henderson County native and lifelong educator of our community. Coach Laughter commenced his teaching career in 1959 with Hendersonville High School, moving to Hendersonville Junior High School in 1964. He coached the first integrated football, basketball, and track teams in the county’s history and was instrumental in building the strong foundation that continues today instilling the pride of being a “Bearcat.” His former players as well as colleagues felt he was a pivotal factor in breaking many racial barriers in Henderson County. In 1972, he started the Physical Education program at Bruce Drysdale Elementary, allowing all students to participate in their level of physical activity which remains intact today.

Although “Coach” officially retired from teaching in 1991, he continued mentoring the students in numerous capacities in the Henderson County School system until 2010, spanning over 51 years of positive influence on young people in Hendersonville. He took great pride in the knowledge that he was able to help former student’s children and left an everlasting mark on them as well.
“Pop” was a member of both the Henderson County Education Foundation Hall of Fame as well as the Hendersonville High School Hall of Fame. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville.

Jim is survived by his four sons: Franklin, Jonathan, Chris and his wife, Miranda, and BJ and his wife Amy. Four grandchildren: Josh, Emma, Jordyn, and Avery; as well as two great-grandchildren: Peyton and Dylan. He is also survived by one brother, Joseph.

The memorial service will be held at 2:30 pm, on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, with the Reverend Eric Gash officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:15 prior to the service in the church sanctuary.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in “Coach’s” memory be directed to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp Scholarship Fund, PO Box 6544, Hendersonville, NC 29793.
Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of the arrangements.