Alita Joy Laughlin, age 86, North Mankato, went to be with her Heavenly Father surrounded by her family December 31, 2016. A service of celebration and tribute of her life will be held on January 27, 2017, at 7:00pm at New Creation World Outreach Church in North Mankato.
Alita was born October 7, 1930 in Wagner, South Dakota to Kenzie and Lela Lindburg. She was the fourth of eight children. Her family later moved to Ronan, Montana where she graduated in 1948. Alita moved to St. Paul Minnesota, where she attended and graduated from Rasmussen Business College. She then went on to further her education at St. Paul Bible College where she graduated with a degree in Christian Education in 1952. While in Bible School, each summer she and a friend conducted various summer bible schools for children in North and South Dakota. She had a passion to see children know Jesus as their savior.
Alita met her husband Cleon Laughlin while attending St. Paul Bible College. They married August 1, 1952, in Ronan, Montana. They then went on to Madison Wisconsin, to serve as youth pastors at Bethesda Church.
In 1955, Cleon and Alita, with their first child, Douglas, went to Papua New Guinea as missionaries. They traveled far inland where no missionary had ever been before to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to stone-age cannibals. They traveled mostly by foot walking to where no white person had ever been before. They climbed mountains, crossed rivers and walked for miles. While there in PNG for 12 years, they founded together 'Hairo Mission Station', on a once tribal battle field. They had a church, bible school and did medical work. Cleon and Alita loved the people of PNG and brought the gospel of peace and light to a spiritually dark country. They learned Pidgin English and she could still speak it even to the time of her death. They loved the people of PNG. Through their hard work and training of the native people, 55 more churches in the region were started in surrounding villages. Alita found much joy in helping and ministering to the women teaching them sewing and how to care for their babies and children, while teaching the Word of God. Their work on the mission station still continues today. Cleon and Alita on several occasions returned to Papua New Guinea to visit where they are greatly honored by the native people. Before returning back to the states in 1967, Alita had three more children, Rick, David and Renee, all born in Papua New Guinea. The people of PNG are deeply sad to hear of her death and will honor her life through their traditional customs.
The Laughlin's settled in North Mankato in 1967 to pioneer a non-denominational church at the old YMCA building in Mankato. This Church became known as Trinity Church. Alita took on different jobs to help support the family while also working in the church. She played the piano, taught Sunday school and was the church secretary. She did it all with much so much joy to bless people and to honor God. Alita helped start Trinity Daycare in 1978 and continued on as the director for many years until 2010. As the church and daycare grew, Trinity Church moved to their current location in North Mankato and changed their name to New Creation World Outreach Church. Alita was active in the church and daycare until her Alzheimer's progressed to the last stages.
Alita enjoyed traveling and had the pleasure to visit twenty foreign countries with her husband Cleon. Alita was an avid reader, followed the Minnesota Twins, and loved her time reading the bible and her commitment to prayer. She was faithful wife, mother, grandmother, and grandmother. She was generous, kind in sharing her many gifts and lived a long life of service to the Lord. Alita moved from Life to Life on December 31st NOT from Life to Death. She has won the prize for which God has called her Heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Alita is survived by her husband, Rev. Cleon Laughlin of 64 years. Children; Douglas (Esperance) - Greencastle Pennsylvania, Rick Mankato, David (Tyra) - Mankato, Renee Thomas (Kent Wenzel) - North Mankato. She has 14 grandchildren and 9 great -grandchildren. She is survived by 4 brothers, 1 sister. She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters.
A special thank you from our family to Vine Adult Respite Care, Dr.Caroline Baerg and Hospice in helping us through this journey. Your love and care for her is beyond our words to even express.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the continuing missions work in PNG and also for an orphanage in Ghana, Africa. Memorials can be given through New Creation Church.
Published on January 23, 2017