Wethersfield middle school teacher dies after battle with cancer – CT Insider


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Thomas McLoughlin, a Silas Deane Middle School teacher in Wethersfield who died Friday of cancer, was an avid angler and loved fishing on the Farmington River, his wife said.
Thomas McLoughlin, Silas Deane Middle School teacher.
McLoughlin loved fishing, cooking, bicycling, birdwatching and good beer and bourbon, his wife said.
WETHERSFIELD — Thomas McLoughlin, described by his wife Monday as “the ultimate middle school boy all his life,” combined a love of nature and working with kids into a long career in classrooms indoors and out.
A science teacher at Silas Deane Middle School in Wethersfield, McLoughlin died Friday at Smillow Cancer Hospital in New Haven. He was 62.
He had been battling cancer diagnosed in February, his wife of nine years and partner for 40 years, Hollie Hecht said, and had remained hopeful through treatment and a stem cell transplant.
“He was practical and spiritual and really such a life force, and he had said at one point if it didn’t work out, he had no regrets,” Hecht said.
 “Tom had a positive impact on hundreds of Wethersfield students,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Emmett wrote in a message to the school community. “His sense of humor, commitment to his craft and unwavering support of students will be deeply missed.”
McLoughlin, who lived with his wife in the Pine Meadow section of New Hartford, had been a Wethersfield teacher since 2005. His sister, Maura McLoughlin, also is a science teacher at the middle school, Emmett wrote. 
McLoughlin grew up in Newington and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain in 1978, his wife said. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in earth science and a teaching certificate from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction with a concentration in teaching science from the American College of Education, Hecht said.
In the 1980s, according to an article in The Hartford Courant, McLoughlin worked with troubled boys at the Klingberg Family Center in New Britain and at the Wilderness School program. He had a youthful enthusiasm and an understanding for nature that helped him in his work, his wife said.
“He was really sympathetic, empathetic to kids who couldn’t find their way,” Hecht said.
In 1994, McLoughlin was hired as assistant in Wethersfield’s Rite of Passage Experience program for sixth-graders. Provided by the town’s youth services department, the program was designed to help children build confidence and learn leadership skills while hiking, rock climbing and navigating ropes courses.
McLoughlin also taught science at an alternative high school in Charlottesville, Va.,  according to The Courant article, and worked at the YMCA’s Camp Jewell in Colebrook, where he helped develop the outdoor adventure camp and planned long-distance biking trips for teens. Hecht, an Ohio native, said the two met at the camp, where she was working as a counselor.
McLoughlin, she said, loved biking, freshwater and ocean fishing, bird-watching and live music, particularly The Grateful Dead.
“He loved to cook, he loved to drink beer and he loved good bourbon,” Hecht said. “He appreciated life. He knew that it could switch on a dime.”
She and Hecht had no children, but he was a “great uncle” and a beloved brother to two sisters, she said.
Funeral arrangements have not been completed.
Christine Dempsey may be reached at Christine.Dempsey@hearstmediact.com. 

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