Irene McLaughlin never drove or repaired one of Newsday’s delivery trucks. But she helped make the newspaper’s transportation department roll as smoothly as the printing presses.
The Long Beach resident, a secretary in the department for more than two decades, maintained payroll and fueling records and helped file reports with the state Department of Transportation, among a host of daily tasks that endeared her to colleagues.
“She somehow seemed to fit in perfectly,” said her boss, Newsday director of transportation Michael Donohue. He called McLaughlin “probably one of the sweetest, most caring, genuine people we’ve had working here. A salt of the earth kind of person.”
He added, “For a period of time, nothing ran in transportation without Irene.”
McLaughlin, who retired in 2013, died of cancer Monday at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. She was 69.
Her sister, Patricia Kastenbaum of Long Beach, said McLaughlin was a “hard worker” who put in extra hours at the office. Her dedication to her job was a reflection of her selflessness, she said.
“She was so generous, so giving,” Kastenbaum said. “Irene was there late at night doing her extras, whatever she had to do to get the job done.”
McLaughlin was born Aug. 20, 1947, in Glen Cove to Herman and Catherine Kastenbaum. The family moved several times, living in Albertson and later North Babylon.
Kastenbaum said her sister moved to Bay Shore in 1988. About that time, she met her future husband, Robert McLaughlin.
They married in 1992, but the union was short-lived. Robert McLaughlin died of cancer eight months after the wedding. He was 46.
Irene McLaughlin later moved to Long Beach, where she and Kastenbaum lived in the same apartment building, three floors apart.
They enjoyed going to movies and Broadway shows together. McLaughlin’s favorite movie was “Gone With the Wind,” and “The Sound of Music” and “Mame” were among her favorite musicals, her sister said.
“She was very family-oriented. She was always there for the family,” Kastenbaum said. “She’s going to be so missed.”
Besides her sister, McLaughlin is survived by another sister, Maureen Schoppmann of Bethpage, and two brothers, Thomas Kastenbaum of Ronkonkoma and James Kastenbaum of Elmont.
The family will receive visitors from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside.
A funeral Mass will be held at 9:45 a.m. Friday at St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside. Burial is to follow at Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.