Funeral Wednesday for Gulfport doctor who died skydiving

11:52 PM, Jan 3, 2012   |    comments
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The Zephyrhills Police Department says 60-year-old Teresa McLaughlin of Gulfport died on New Year's Day after a skydiving accident with the company Skydive City.
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  • GULFPORT, Florida - A Gulfport doctor is being remembered not just for the way she died, but for the way she lived her life.

    The Zephyrhills Police Department says 60-year-old Teresa McLaughlin of Gulfport died around 2:30 p.m. on New Year's Day after a skydiving accident with the company Skydive City.

    A woman who answered the phone at Skydive City said on Monday afternoon the company has no comment.

    Corrine Freeman, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, says Dr.  McLaughlin wasn't only her doctor -- she was also her friend. Freeman says she was just real. "She wore jeans. She didn't wear a lot of makeup. But she was a good doctor."

    Photo Gallery: Dr. Teresa McLaughlin

    Freeman says she tried to warn her about skydiving. "Well, I kept telling her, 'Will you stop jumping out of airplanes, please?' And she'd say, 'Nope, I will continue to do that.' I said, 'One day, you know, it's going to be be the death of you.' She said, 'Don't be ridiculous, I know how to do it.'"

    Dr. McLaughlin's husband says his wife was an experienced sky diver. She'd jumped about 700 times, he says. He didn't want to speak with 10 News on camera but says, at one point, they used to jump 8 to 10 times a day together. He was skydiving with her on Monday when something went terribly wrong and she died.

    He says McLaughlin not only played hard -- she rode a Harley motorcycle and loved hiking and NASCAR -- but she also worked hard.

    Bayfront Medical Center issued a statement saying, "She was a treasured member of the Bayfront Family who touched many lives. She trained as a resident in our Family Medicine program and served patients at Bayfront for more than 30 years."

    Friends and family say Dr. McLaughlin was an old school doctor who still made house calls. They say once when she broke her pelvis in a skydiving accident she actually saw her patients from her bedside.

    Freeman says she'll never forget Dr. McLaughlin's kindness when she rushed to her dying husband's bedside. She says, Dr. McLaughlin wasn't even his doctor. "She was a super person. She'll be greatly missed. There's no replacement. Maybe she'll jump out of heaven and come back. I mean, she was great."

    10 News has looked into the number of deaths of skydivers jumping with Skydive City and found there's reportedly been eight deaths dating back to 1993. However, thousands and thousands of jumps take place at the company each year.

    Dr. McLaughlin's husband isn't blaming anyone for his wife's death. He says it was just a tragic accident.

    The Zephyrhills Police Department is investigating but, in the meanwhile, a memorial service is being held for Dr. McLaughlin on Wednesday, January 4 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. It will take place at Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home/Tyrone Chapel. It's located at 7820 38th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-6636 for more information.

    Dr. McLaughlin leaves behind a husband, three grown children, and three grandchildren.

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