|Bust Returned to Family of Keith Laughlin |
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
05:47PM / Thursday, August 31, 2017
|Gail King, left, presents the bust of Keith Laughlin to his mother, Karin Morandi, and sister Kris Bona.|
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The grateful family of Keith W. Laughlin on Thursday received the bust carved by his longtime friend.
Gail King delivered the sculpture carved by her late niece, Ruth Ellen, to Laughlin's mother, Karin Morandi, at the home of Morandi's daughter, Kris Bona.
"I'm so glad we found you guys," King said. "We knew this had to mean something to somebody."
And King was determined not to discard the bust when she returned to the area from North Carolina to clean out the Bennington, Vt., home of her recently deceased sister, Jean Ann King.
Jean Ann had prominently displayed the artwork of her daughter and kept a laminated copy of a memorial notice printed about the sculpture's subject. But Gail King was not familiar with the bust's backstory, and the memorial was short on details, other than Laughlin's full name, date of birth and date of death.
After pursuing the mystery on her own, Gail King reached out to iBerkshires.com to see if any of its readers could help her trace Laughlin's family.
It did not take long.
was posted overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, and Wednesday morning, readers were calling iBerkshires' office and forwarding a copy of the article to Bona's husband, Tom, an employee of Williams College and the varsity boys soccer coach at McCann Technical School.
In a happy coincidence, Morandi was in town visiting her family from the state of Florida, so she was the first to see her son's likeness returned to the family. She said she would like to bring the sculpture back to the Sunshine State if she is sure it can be transported safely.
While Gail King was not familiar with Laughlin, his family knew Ruth Ellen King well. The pair were a couple during their too brief lives. He passed away in 2002 at 32. She died in 2013 at 35.
They knew Ruth Ellen, but they did not know about the bust, Bona and Morandi said on Thursday.
"I didn't know this existed until yesterday," Morandi told Gail King. "I'm so glad that you tried so hard to find us."