Unless a good reason exists, it’s pretty hard to justify nosing about in someone else’s life. Our good reason for probing into the MacLauchlan Murders is to tell a fascinating story – a tale of early Hollywood, the Calgary theatre world in the 1920s, international drug smuggling and the abortion underworld of the 1950s and 1960s.
One of the points of our fascination is to understand the nature of the attraction between Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his third wife, Margaret Anne “Nan” MacLauchlan. Readers of this blog will remember that MacLauchlan and Nan were both murdered on March 21, 1966 in a quiet residential neighbourhood in New Westminster.
Nan’s daughter, Lorraine Cunningham (or someone who once knew her), may have a key to her mother’s personality – and to her fatal attraction to Dr MacLauchlan.
Blonde and blue-eyed, with high cheekbones, “Lo” Cunningham was easily the most attractive girl in New Westminster’s Lester Pearson High School 1959 graduating class.
In our last blog posting we listed the names of people residing in the 500 Block of Fifth Street in 1966, the year that Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his third wife Margaret Anne “Nan” were murdered.
In this posting we are hoping that one or more of Lorraine’s classmates, the young men and women of 1959, may remember something she might have said all those years ago about her mother and the doctor. We are seeking to fill out the story of how MacLauchlan and Nan came together in 1957. Had she known him from before, when both lived in Calgary? Had she somehow met him through her father’s regiment, the Calgary Highlanders, when it was commanded by the doctor’s younger brother, Lt. Col Donald MacLauchlan, a decorated hero of World War II’s Normandy campaign?
We have heard from one of Lorraine’s schoolmates, who shared with us a too-brief cameo moment:
“I remember them – she and her mother. They were both golden-haired, walking in New Westminster when the girl (Lorraine) was very young. Both were “well turned out” and looked very happy together.”
That cameo took place in the early middle 1950s. Several years later, about two years after the doctor had moved into her mother’s house, Nan was on the verge of adulthood. In the 1959 Lester Pearson Senior High School yearbook, she was described as “[Enjoying] music, dancing, ice skating, piano and custom cars.” The little blurb ends with the sentence “Lo hopes to become a psychiatric nurse in the near future.”
The comment about liking “custom cars” is piquant, because standing right beside her in the yearbook photo is a tall, good looking young man named Dallas McDonald, who lists his interests as “baseball, football, music and cars.” Were Lorraine and Dallas high school sweethearts? Does someone out there in or beyond the world of the Internet know?
Following graduation, Lorraine Cunningham worked at Royal Columbian as an X-ray technician. A few years after graduating, she went to San Francisco to get further training on X-ray techniques. At Christmas 1965, she married a man in Mexico City, whose last name was Bojalil.
During her graduating year, Lorraine was in Division Nine. Her classmates in the attached photo are as follows: 1st Row (L-R) -- Joyce Taylor, Gail Mitchell, Sharon Warga, Verna Hnatiw, Arlene Boruck; 2nd Row -- Jack Calhoun, Barbara Johnstone, Gail Murray, Jan Smith, Dorothy Leeder, Lloyd Warnes; 3rd Row -- Brian Dickson, Hugo Nielson, Lorraine Cunningham, Dallas MacDonald, Jay Ross; 4th Row -- David Greenbank, Richard Dirks, Dick Mickelson, Bruce Soderberg, Roy Thorpe and Rod McLeod.